Calm, chiming instrumentals and xylophonic sounds. Glistening bulbous vessels of color stretching 40 feet into the sky against magenta flora and lush green foliage. This is the serene, yet glaringly beautiful setting in which we find Randlett “Randy” Lawrence, a spiritual dreamer and artist residing in Echo Park, California. This is Randyland.
Randy’s masterpiece, the Phantasma Gloria, is a giant, steel-wired mosaic made of hundreds of glass bottles filled with colored water. As Randy explains the origins of this creative vision—the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to him in a dream and told him to build it—and the root of the name itself—from phantasmagoria, the phenomenon of hallucinations occurring during Greek mystery cult gatherings—he can’t help but grin and appear completely content and confident in his work. He climbs up a ladder and fills up his glass bulbs with a garden hose, basking in the hot sun.
The sun, in fact, plays a crucial role in what Randy calls “as close to magic as you’ll ever get.” When the bulbs are filled with water, the sun shines through and the entire world appears upside down as each bulb captures the sun inside its glass walls, rays and beams of sunlight shooting through and penetrating the glass, bursting into color.
While Randy himself says he is not a true Orthodox believer, he nonetheless felt powerfully and spiritually drawn to the Virgin of Guadalupe and chose to follow that vision and build his masterpiece using the sun and water as his media. “If I made this whole array out of empty fishbowls and empty bottles, it would also be aesthetically and spiritually empty, because it does not capture the sun inside, it is no longer a solar mosaic, it’s just a bunch of hanging bottles on rebar.”
Indeed, there is something very spiritual about absorbing the sun, about climbing high above and catching the sun’s warmth and energy, so powerful you feel it could whisk you away at any moment, and you’re not even mad about it. Randy’s peaceful demeanor and admission of having dwelled in despair serve as a reminder for artists, creatives, and dreamers everywhere not to give in to darkness and that your calling could come at any moment and whisk you away—so be ready and open to it.
You can take a look inside Randyland in the joyous documentary from Matthew Kaundart and Luka Fisher below:
Click here to learn more about Randyland.