Katy Perry painting to go on show at National Portrait Gallery in DC

Portrait painter said he was drawn to Perry's 'pop culture iconography'

Daisy Wyatt
Friday 23 May 2014 10:56 BST
Will Cotton's portrait of Katy Perry, entitled Cupcake Katy
Will Cotton's portrait of Katy Perry, entitled Cupcake Katy (AFP/Getty Images)

A portrait of Katy Perry dressed as a cupcake is to go on show at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Painted by New York-based artist Will Cotton, the tongue-in-cheek “Cupcake Katy” will go on show from 18 June.

The artist, who previously collaborated with the singer for the cover of her 2010 album Teenage Dream, said he does not normally paint celebrities but made an exception for Perry.

“The thing about painting celebrity in general is that there’s this chance they can just completely take over the picture,” he told the Smithsonian Magazine.

“But Katy had this kind of pop culture iconography that just seemed to me to fit into the kind of things I was interested in painting about,” he said.

Asked why he thought the gallery had decided to hang her portrait now, an honour usually reserved for later on in an entertainer’s career, he said: “It’s a question of cultural relevance. It seems like that must consider her to be important enough as an American to be part of the collection.”

Defending the decision to hang the pop star’s portrait in the prestigious gallery, Kim Sajet, the museum’s director, told the Associates Press: “Perry comes from a tradition of strong women entertainers who challenge their supposedly superficial pop personas…on closer look, Perry is a complex figure.”

The portrait will go on show later this month to coincide with a concert by Perry at DC’s Verizon Centre as part of her Prismatic world tour.

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