Andres Guzman and Allegra Lockstadt bring eye candy to Paper Darts

Two illustrators team up for “Candy Arena,” an exhibition of sprinkle-colored ideas from their exploding sketchbooks.

Allegra Lockstadts half of Candy Arena features a row of flowers against Andres Guzmans abstract orbs.

Allegra Lockstadt’s half of “Candy Arena” features a row of flowers against Andres Guzman’s abstract orbs.

Joseph Kleinschmidt

 

Andres Guzman and Allegra Lockstadt both complained of sores on their hands.

“Don’t you get calluses from working with concrete or sanding things all day?” Lockstadt said.

Neither artist has been doing any manual labor, but the two Minneapolis College of Art and Design grads drew feverishly under a nearing deadline for the opening of “Candy Arena” at the Paper Darts Pop-Up. The joint exhibition features large-scale works.

“I use flesh and abstract colors — like bile colors mixed with candy-coated ones,” Guzman said.

Guzman was inspired during a trip to Peru, where he saw the grotesque image of an open chicken strewn in a market shop.

“They looked like ornaments — all these orbs of organs were the brightest, most beautiful colors,” he said. “It was a strange pairing of these morbid things, but they were so beautiful.”

Lockstadt complements Guzman’s abstract and stomach-churning art with detailed floral patterns. She matches his work with an ice cream sundae color scheme for her side of “Candy Arena.” Lockstadt, a freelance illustrator, could test more colors she normally wouldn’t have the chance to use when working for a client.

“If you’re working for an editorial that’s about yoga or feeling tranquil — you shouldn’t use bright red or an angry color, for example,” she said.

“Candy Arena” marks a chance for the two artists to act like kids in a candy store — they’re the only ones setting the limits.

Between coming up with visuals for a company’s brand or creating editorial illustrations for magazines, the life of a freelance illustrator doesn’t allow for much creative (or physical) space. Artists like Guzman and Lockstadt are tied to the client’s vision as well as a digital medium.

“With illustration clients, it really doesn’t matter if the final object isn’t there,” Lockstadt said. “Usually it’s a digital send-off.”

No physical tie also means they don’t have to use a large canvas if they’re simply emailing work. “You could draw it on a Post-It note,” Guzman said.

“Candy Arena” gives the two artists an opportunity to experiment on a whole new scale — a five-foot canvas is on the playing field. Guzman and Lockstadt aren’t confined to the specifications of a logo or even the inner pages of their Moleskines.

An illustrator of hip-hop album covers for I Self Devine and Greg Grease, Guzman is already a prominent local illustrator. “Candy Arena” allows him to play with gutsy juxtapositions he left on the cutting room floor. Brandishing his trusty Micron pen, he extols the value of transferring his ideas on paper instead of a laptop.

“It’s been nice to not look at my screen — other than just putting on YouTube,” he said. “Not to have that vulture talon claw behind the mouse.”

 

What: “Candy Arena” Opening Night
Where: Paper Darts Pop-Up at SooLOCAL, 3506 Nicollet Ave. S. Minneapolis
When: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cost: Free