How to view the Echo Park home, which draws visitors from all over the globe

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Randlett King Lawrence can be described as a character. He’s 66 years old and has deep-seated smile lines. He carries a bag full of white marbles and a lowball wine glass. His excitement is infectious, and you’re compelled to agree with him.

His colleagues in the film industry know him as a set and prop maker for movies such as “Mulholland Drive” by David Lynch (2001) and “Child’s Play 2” (1990), which is the sequel to the movie about Chucky, the murderous doll. His Echo Park neighbors know him as the man who built “Phantasma Gloria”, a massive contraption made of steel rebar, and over 1,000 colored glass bottles, which looms above his Echo Park home on Lemoyne Street.

“Bodacious Betty,” is one of many metal cutouts in Randy King Lawrence’s “Phantasma Gloria.”

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

He eagerly directed a small group of people up the steps to his yard, directing them from his sidewalk onto a sunny Sunday afternoon. “And then, I’m going ask you all turn around together.”

It is worth the wait: The afternoon sun shines through the massive freestanding sculpture and the glowing curved glass bottles, marbles, and steel arches that hang from it glow, creating a multi-dimensional stained glass. The outline of glowing red bottles reveals a cyan and lime abstraction of Virgin of Guadalupe. Randy calls the massive stencil “bodacious Betty”, and it lights up around her Afro. Small marbles reflect light like tiny stars. The sculpture has several bottles filled with water. Inside, you will find hundreds of delicate versions of the horizon that have been flipped upside-down.

As his guests took in the view, he stated that “what you see now is entirely dependent on two factors.” “One is the sky and specifically where the light source is — the sun or the moon or an ambulance — and another is how diffused it is.

Randy welcomes both locals and strangers from all over the globe, but he is very particular about when visitors come to see his masterpiece. He would prefer that everyone arrive at least an hour before sunset so that the sun can shine through his bottles from his preferred angles. His ongoing D.I.Y. project is a continuation of James Turrell’s work, who built skyspaces all across the country that did light shows at sunrise and sunset to alter the appearance of sky.

To get the best effect from the art installation, visitors are requested to arrive at sunset.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Randy began building the “Phantasma Gloria” in 2000, when he was “languishing for the unmet desire to create something beautiful in the world”.

He said, “So I leaned closer, put my glasses on, and I saw that the cumulus clouds at 10,000 feet were shrunken inside each one.” “And that blazing light was the sun. That’s when I realized that I could create mosaics from 1,000 suns.

He has taken many photos of the evolution of the sculpture over the past 23 years. The “Phantasma Gloria”, which is approximately 30 feet tall and 90ft long, was completed in 2023. It’s about the same height as three stretch limousines. Randy stated that he built it all himself, with the exception of a friend who was responsible for cleaning some bottles a few decades ago.

Randy invites people to his yard for many reasons. Randy will sometimes wax poetic about the capture of thousands of stars. Other times, he’ll refer back to the sculpture as his “low hanging fruit”, a project that is so easy and natural for him it would be a shame not to see it through.

Randy stated, “The ‘fruit” is the sensory experience of life.” “I want to show you how an infinitely changing array of steels and glass can deliver an inexplicable, and often spectacularly changing, visual experience.”

Randy’s yard is not only known for its sculpture, but also because of the other things it offers. It’s like talking to your favorite artist teacher or eccentric uncle. It’s encouraging, strange and exciting all at once.

Randy King Lawrence transformed his front yard in Echo Park into an ongoing art project.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Randy explained that we have two crystal balls in our front eyes. However, they are more lentil-shaped than spherical and that’s why lenses are called lenses. Randy held a marble in my eye one afternoon.

He said, “If you position the lens,” you can create an infinite number of visual experiences.

Randy was not always an artist in the traditional sense. He was born on the “exotic island” in New York Harbor that is now known as Staten Island. His family has lived in Texas, New Mexico, Virginia, Germany and Texas before moving to California. Randy’s father was stationed in Vietnam to perform military intelligence work. Randy’s mother decided to move his family from Donner Lake (Calif.) to La Jolla. He felt the need to capture and reflect beauty.

He said that La Jolla was so beautiful and sensual. “I spent a lot time under and in the water, and I think the psychedelics [I took] and the ocean had an impact on my imagination.”

Randy graduated from UC Santa Cruz in Economics and worked as a reporter for the Long Beach Independent Press Telegram on the “bereavement beat”, writing about the recently deceased.

Close-up of Randy King Lawrence’s colorful sculpture, which includes a metal stenciled face and liquid-filled bottles.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

After leaving that job, he became an organizer for United Farm Workers and then began managing local political campaigns as well as writing for the Democratic whip of the California Legislature. He eventually got tired of this and began to wander around Mexico. While he was there, he bought duffel bags filled with leather jackets, which he then resold in L.A.

He was living with his girlfriend in the 1980s and was given an ultimatum to either propose or move out. Randy received a job offer from a friend, where he would build spaceships for Roger Corman, the pioneering director who launched the careers, among others, of Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson. This job enabled him to leave and was the beginning of his long-term career as a props and set builder for television and movies.

Randy King Lawrence’s yard is surrounded by purple bougainvillea, multicolored glass bottles, and other plants.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Randy, now his ex-wife Nicole Lawrence, moved into the house on Lemoyne Street he currently lives in in 1991. Randy and Nicole are still close friends. Nicole is excited about Nicole’s next project. She plans to publish a children’s novel based on her experience living in an artist’s home that was often in disrepair.

Nicole wrote in a draft her book, “Nina lives in an old rundown house with her artist father and a giant glass dragon on their front yard.”

She later added, “Nina is aware that the people also see her house as old and broken.” “The rooms are not equipped with doors but have many holes in their walls.

The eccentric house is a good example of what can be done in real life. When Nina’s friend visits her and comments about how cool her house is, she starts to feel proud of living there.

This story is very true to life. Randy started the “Phantasma Gloria” project to fix a large hole in his backyard. Although he knows that the house needs more attention and practical care, he still plans to build a giant dragon in his backyard.

Randy stated, “If you are in the river or creativity and you keep there, then you must act on whatever idea you have — not all of them but at least one.”

He said, “When you’re done with it, you can reflect on the things you did, and then you will have your next idea.” “Then 20 years later, you’ll be able to say, “My life was so much more enjoyable than it would otherwise.”

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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