Will Cotton was born in 1965 in Melrose, Massachusetts. He received his BFA from the Cooper Union, New York, spent a semester at the Ecole Regionale des Beaux-Arts in France, and studied for a year at the New York Academy of Art. His paintings have been included in numerous group shows throughout the United States and Europe, and have been the subject of solo shows at the Mary Boone, Silverstein and I-20 Galleries in New York, among many others.
In his art he employs two of the most time-honored traditions in painting – landscape and still-life – to create confectionery fantasies that evoke a happy desire of abundance, security, and childhood dreams. Creating elaborate scenes out of gingerbread, icing, candy canes, gum drops, and other sweets, Cotton theatrically lights the model, photographs it, and makes a painting from the photo. The process gives his works a fairytale quality, quite different from a straightforward landscape or a still life of sweets. The artist has said: “Like the land of Cockaigne (mythical medieval land of plenty), candy land is an imagined utopia whose exact geographical location is elusive. It is the idea of a land of plenty where all is pleasure.” Cotton lives and works in New York City.