Arts / Galleries

Candytopia Opens in Houston — Your First Sneak Peek at the Zany Art Play World

All the Sugar Rush Details

BY // 06.14.19

Creativity meets confectionary at Candytopia, the sugary sweet art installation where imagination runs wild. The childhood wonderland, made up of thousands and thousands of pieces of candy, has wowed Instagrammers and the young-at-heart from Taiwan to China, to Atlanta to Dallas.

And now, you can satisfy that serious sweet tooth in Houston, right on the heels of the FOMO Factory opening in The Galleria.

Candytopia opens the doors to its tactile take on Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory today (June 14). The hard candy haven has transformed a space at the MarqE Center off of Katy Freeway, and it’s sure to give you a sugar high. A-list Candytopia fans — which includes celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Usher and Hilary Duff — would surely agree.

You may not be able to take a bite right out of the epic red-hot candy dragon that took two months to make, every ridge and scale made up of candies of all colors, shapes, textures and sizes, or the neon rainbow unicorn, but there are plenty of handouts from truffles to pixie sticks and organic gummy bears as you wind your way from room to room, passing Technicolor portraits of Queen Bey made of jelly beans and a marshmallow pit.

It’s a totally immersive, interactive sugar-coated experience everywhere you look in more than a dozen rooms, with photo opps aplenty even as you transition from room to room pushing past beaded curtains or jungle vines.

It’s candy, for sure, but it’s also eye candy.

“Everything is done by hand meticulously, one by one by one. It’s the kind of job that could drive somebody crazy, literally insane. But for the right type of person, with patience and a vision and a calm zen energy, it’s a very therapeutic kind of job,” co-founder and Hollywood Candy Queen Jackie Sorkin tells PaperCity.

She’s just stepped off a massive red swing-set modeled after the 100 emoji, big enough to hold up a half dozen people.

This room is modeled after a playground, if you super-sized it and put it through a kaleidoscope. Striped  lollipops tower overhead, and the giant contraption in the middle pours music out of tunnels and features flowers with impossibly bright petals. If you step on the lever at the base of the stem, candy scents waft out from the blossom.

It’s the right kind of zany to set the tone.

“It really comes from our crazy personalities, that child that lives in all of us — to have unicorn pigs that fart confetti in your face! It’s a candy wonderland,” Sorkin laughs.

But the next room, behind a slew of shimmering beads and a mirrored tunnel framed with fluorescent blue, pink and green lights, is where the art is truly showcased.

Candytopia is not all about shock value — even if there are those confetti farts.

“Our gallery is where our guests really appreciate the art. They slow down and appreciate the works of art that have been made with so much love and time,” Sorkin notes.

“I just love candy as a medium, as an artist. It’s perfecting this candy artistry. When creating with candy it really is limitless. We say we can create anything out of candy. We use everything at our disposal, different flavors, different colors. What we do as artists is we manipulate candy, pull it, stretch it, cut it.”

Candy Art

The first thing you’ll notice about the gallery may just be the silver bead chandeliers swaying above. But once your eyes adjust, you’ll find them glued to the glucose making up the impressive golden sphinx, the neon green Thinker in his classic contemplative pose and The Statue of Liberty, torch aloft.

Framed masterpieces hang on every wall, from a super-saturated Frida Kahlo, a sassy Cardi B and ridiculously accurate rendition of The Scream, made in part with sugar-studded fruit by the foot.

Then, it’s just a stroll through the sea, complete with gleaming candy sharks, mouths agape, past a komodo dragon in the forest, and then — you’re hit full on in the face with a bucket of multi-color confetti. Then, you walk in, and there’s another blast of confetti — from a cannon. You walk to the back of the room, and confetti shoots out of painted pigs’ butts.

“The confetti room is such an overload of energy, of sensory overload. It’s a confetti storm! That’s the fun. It takes people out of their element. That’s the room with the love of escapism. You’re just like what is going on? And you leave happy,” Sorkin laughs.

Don’t worry, there are air hoses to shake off the confetti. But why would you want to?

But so far, the favorite seems to be the expansive marshmallow pit, where you can actually swim in the sugar. Selfies are more than welcome on this cloud of cushiony white.

“So it really is just all those childhood fantasies brought to life,” Sorkin laughs.

So, go ahead. Treat yourself.

Candytopia tickets cost $28 for adults and $20 for kids ages four through 12. For more information click here.

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