Fantastical, sumptuous candy landscapes where youth, glamour and beauty reign supreme. Couture made of candy bar wrappers and icing. Cotton candy clouds and snow made of icing so light that you can imagine the feel of it’s soft edges grazing your fingertips before you have a taste. This is the delectable utopian world of American artist Will Cotton.
Themes of decadence, gluttony and of course, sweets abound in Cotton’s work. An amateur pastry chef, the artist builds maquettes with actual sweets he bakes, creating backdrops, crowns and jewelry. Clothing is made of custom fabric printed with candy bar wrappers, turned into miniskirts and corsets he designs. The artist then photographs the models and maquettes, with the work culminating in gluttonous scenes and the lovely pin-ups who inhabit them.
These extravagant scenes certainly have an air of campiness to them, yet dig deeper and you will find that they are a metaphor and perhaps even celebration of our own search for satiation and desire.
About his work, Cotton has stated,
“These paintings are all about a very specific place…where all desire is fulfilled all the time, meaning ultimately that there can be no desire, as there is no desire without lack.”
As consumers we are constantly surrounded by messages designed to entice want and desire.
In today’s digital age where everything is a mere click away, these themes seem more prevalent than ever. And yet somehow, regardless of this level of accessibility, most of us are left craving something deeper.
This extreme self-indulgence leaves us longing more and brings a few immediate questions to mind. Do the reigning queens of the candy land universe consume their sweet landscapes? Or are they merely guardians of this universe, both there for our consumption? Are we satiated?
While the answers remain unclear, the artists deliciously rendered paintings are certainly a visually delightful way to consider the questions.