Last week, we were lucky to experience all the wonder that is The Broad. Afterwards, we made a slight detour to the hills of Echo Park where artist and set builder, Randlett Lawrence has constructed his own, and no less passionate, monument to the art of inspirational collecting.
Fifty feet tall and made entirely of twisted wire, glass and colored water, this huge likeness of the Virgin Guadalupe is an LA Wonder in the same vein as Simon Rodia’s Watts Tower.
Almost fifteen years ago set builder Randy was moved to create something, any thing, and this self proclaimed “phantasma Gloria “ is what emerged—several thousand glass bottles that rise above his front yard and sway perilously in the wind. Phantasmagoria was a long-ago form of theatre that used magic lanterns to project mostly frightening images onto walls. RANDYLAND is a slightly more modern experience, that is really only frightening when the artist has to climb the hand-built structure to make necessary improvements.
Randyland can be viewed from the street but it is even more fantastic, from Randy’s POV. Lucky for us, Randy must have seen us parking our old station wagon and invited us up to his house, where in the setting sun, you can actually see the sky and the hills of Echo Park refracted in some of the rounder bottles. He calls it “refraction in action” and it actually is – just that. For a minute or two the world is upside down and the discovery is a lot of fun. He picks out a yellow bottle near the Virgin’s heart, and points out that you can see a tree in it, only backwards and upside down. I’m not so certain about the “mitosis” referred to in a recent video but RANDYLAND really is a man-made wonder and a conversation starter about art and what moves men and women to create and collect. I’ll bet Randy and Eli Broad would have a lot to talk about.
Randyland 1646 Lemoyne Street Echo Park
Here’s a great story on the unusual spot from the Los Angeles Times, with more excellent photos by Ann Summa.
Send Randy a message on FACEBOOK. Let him know you are coming and he just might be there to give you some postcards and his version of the story.
Written by Susan Finesman