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  • Katelin Kinney

Making Cotton Candy

My recent image "Cotton Candy Cute" was for the purpose of practicing commercialized product photography. I found a project on Behance about a year ago from Alex Palazzi. He handcrafted typography and covered them in textures. It stuck with me and I thought about some of those images pretty often. Originally for this image I was thinking summer, fun, shoes, purses, girly...and I had ended up on the idea of a mound of shaved ice with popsicles popping out of it with some accessories laying around in the ice. Since I don't have a studio or a sizable freezer this was going to be really difficult and messy, so I decided to rethink the food material.

"Do not play with your food" series by Alex Palazzi

I landed on the idea of using cotton and spray painting it to look like cotton candy. At this time I actually had forgotten that Alex Palazzi also had created a cotton candy piece. Normally for me this would be too close to another artist's work and I would want to choose another material, but since I had already started on the project I decided to let this time be an exception. I urge you to check out his project "Do not play with your food" on Behance. You can find it here.

So, I went to Wal*Mart and looked around for some accessories that could go well with a cotton candy set up. I ended up buying some purses that all had a light candy color scheme. I figured this would go well with the idea of an advertisement for a summer line of purses from a designer. As far as going about building the small set, I got some broken down cardboard boxes from work, took them home, drew out the word "Cute" and cut it out twice. I connected those pieces with duck tape and voila. I had a really rough 3D word. I didn't care too much about precision or clean edges here since I knew I would be covering it in a fluffy material. I just needed the basic shape to be correct. I glued it to a cardboard base that I had covered with crumpled newspaper balls to give some geography instead of just having a flat surface.

Next step was to spray paint it for a base color so the newspaper wouldn't show through the cotton. I was nervous about being able to find cotton candy colors, but Lowe's has a TON of color options for spray paint.

Now came the fun part. Covering it in fake spider webs! :) After that, all that was left to do was spray the cotton to match the base coat.

After returning the purses (because, hey, I wasn't going to use them and they were just as good as they were when I took them out of the store the day before....and I kinda need that money, lol!) I spent a total of about $20 on this shoot. To be honest that's a little pricier than I prefer, but this was a new experience with sculpting/creating a set. Just goes to show you can create some really cool looking images on a low or non-existent budget!

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