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Randyland! LA's Phantasma Gloria is all about the art of light | A Bartell's Backroads Pit Stop

The sunny story behind one man's colorful neighborhood art installation.

LOS ANGELES — Glowing on a hill above Los Angeles is a kaleidoscope of color that changes throughout the day. Many artists use a canvas or a wall as their backdrop, but Randlett King Lawrence uses the sky as his medium.

“The basic element is not a brush stroke, it is not a mosaic tile, it’s a pair of living skies,” said Lawrence.

The living sky is a part of Randyland, an art installation in Echo Park. At first glance, Lawrence’s art looks like a bunch of colorful glass bottles -- and it is -- but according to him it’s much more.

“What we have behind us here is Phantasma Gloria. A Phantasma Gloria is a vast array of tear drop-shaped double lenses in this mind-blowing medium,” said Lawrence.

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Lawrence started his Phantasma Gloria in the year 2000, after seeing the sunshine through a glass bottle. On closer inspection, he noticed how the bottle distorted images by turning them upside down.

“The reason you see me upside down and I see you upside down is because it is a convex lens," said Lawrence.

He discovered teardrop glass bottles create a variety of optical effects when the sun hits them, so he built a metal frame in his front yard and created a "sky mosaic" for the community of Echo Park to view for free.

“This is a temple to the sun,” he said.

Lawrence also uses shadows to create art. When visitors come, he uses plastic cutouts to casts silhouette masks on their faces, or images on walls. Lawrence is constantly changing or adding displays and it’s become a popular place for aspiring artists to get inspiration or just take some really cool Instagram pictures

“The motto of Randyland is that everybody is Randy in Randyland, as in 'there is a lust for life,'” said Lawrence.

Randyland is located at 1646 Lemoyne St, Los Angeles, CA 90026. The display is visible from the street and private tours are available by request on his Instagram page.

MORE ART ON THE BACKROADS: The main attraction in the desert town of Olancha is an open-air interpretive metal art display. 

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