Will Cotton may be most famous for art-directing Katy Perry's "California Gurls" video, but to me, he'll always be first and foremost the creator of some of the most charming gingerbread houses — and chalets and cottages — the world has ever seen. Did you know he actually builds the gingerbread houses and their alpine settings and then does his paintings of them? My kind of guy.Aren't these dreamy? I want to stay in the first one on a romantic ski vacation, and I'd like to install my darling grandparents in the third one. I think they'd be very happy there. One of the things I love about these is that for all their cookies and candies, they really look like real homes: gingerbread houses in the wild.
His process definitely endears him to me as well, especially since my day job involves art and baking. I saw Will Cotton give a lecture (unfortunately, the link is down) in which he spoke about the importance of scent in his work. As he's painting these houses, his studio smells of warm, rich spices and sweet frosting. And when he works on his cotton candy paintings, there are members of his staff making fresh cotton candy round-the-clock. Can you imagine how overwhelmingly sweet the air must be? As you look at those paintings, you can almost smell them. He doesn't just paint the abstract idea of gingerbread or cotton candy, he paints actual cotton candy in all its cloying, collapsing, sugary wonder. Will Cotton, if you're reading this, I have a couple of years of cotton candy-making experience and would be thrilled to lend a hand. And if you happen to have an extra cupcake liner dress, I'd be equally thrilled to take it off your hands.
All of Will Cotton's paintings can be seen here (warning: many of his works are probably not safe for work, no big surprise for anything that involves pin-up girls, cotton candy, and Katy Perry). Here's a list of the paintings shown above:
1. Alpine Ruin, 2008
2. Fog, 2008
3. Nut House, 2007
4. Eutopia, 2008
5. The Consummation of Empire, 2008
6. Ghost, 2007
7. Monument, 2009
8. The Vast Structure of Recollection, 2007
9. Ruin, 2012
(All images by Will Cotton)