Will Cotton (born Melrose, Massachusetts, 1965) is internationally recognized for his utopian landscape paintings often composed of sugary desserts inhabited by seductive female figures. Cotton's paintings, drawings, and interactive projects explore gluttony, beauty, and desire. The environments are painted from large dioramas that Cotton, an accomplished pastry chef, constructs in the studio from actual sweets. Figures also painted from life are wedded with this imagery, creating distortions of scale and pictorial space that are at once unsettling and convincing.
Cotton served as the artistic director of the 2010 California Gurls music video for pop singer Katy Perry. For multi-media projects, Cotton has collaborated with choreographer Charles Askegard and composer John Zorn for Performa 11, provided the set installation for the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series 2012 production of Peter and the Wolf, and developed the concept, sets, and costumes for the cover and twenty-three page spread of New York Magazine’s 2013 Spring Fashion issue.
Raised in New Paltz, New York, Will Cotton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York’s Cooper Union. His work is included in the collections of the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus; and National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC. Cotton received the Princess Grace Foundation Award for Contemporary Art in 2004 and he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the New York Academy of Art in 2012. Cotton lives and works in New York City.