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Cupcake Katy
Katy Perry born 1984
Born Santa Barbara, California
Pop star Katy Perry (born Katheryn Hudson) collaborated with New York City–based painter Will Cotton on the design of the world featured in her video for “California Gurls.” Cotton’s work, which draws on art-historical sources to explore consumer culture, caught Perry’s eye. The artist felt an affinity for Perry as well, describing her as just the kind of subject he wanted to paint: “She’s over-the-top, she’s very sugary, saccharine.” Here Cotton presents her as “Queen Katy of Candyland” in a dress constructed by designer Cynthia Rowley. Perry’s cheeky pose, wry expression, and her flawless appearance, amplified by the velvet quality of the painted surface, playfully hint at the paradoxes she straddles. Crafty and self-aware, she acknowledges that “everything I do is always with a wink.” The provocative teenage icon, chart-topping singer, and savvy businesswoman began her career singing gospel music as the daughter of Pentecostal pastors. She is the only artist after Michael Jackson to produce five number-one hits from a single album, in this case Teenage Dream (2010).
Will Cotton (born 1965)
Oil on linen, 2010
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