did you ever read the Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton? they were possibly my favourite books as a child (except maybe for anything by Roald Dahl) and i was instantly transported back to the Land of Goodies when seeing these paintings by Will Cotton. of course like most children’s books in those days everything wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows – there was always a moral to the story, and if you overindulged you were likely to learn a good lesson. that sinister undercurrent is certainly present in Cotton’s depictions of pin-up models in sugary sweet settings that look like they’re decaying before your eyes.
Cotton starts his process by building maquettes in his New York studio to paint from. These can range from table-top scenery to life-sized sets occupied by models dressed in confectionary costumes that Cotton has created. Constructing these sets allows the artist to see surprising and often unexpected details, enabling him to recreate textures and details in such a way that viewing the works becomes a tactile experience. “Sweetness taken to an extreme degree, as it is in my paintings, becomes cloying, even repulsive and that’s where it gets interesting for me.”