The north leg of Lemoyne is one of those Echo Park streets that trace a ridge line. But down toward Grafton, north of Sunset Boulevard, the street starts to cut into the hillside, descending. On this section of Lemoyne the houses are closer together; the downhill houses have their front doors close to the street, or down a stairway, and the uphill ones are reached after climbing staircases of varying lengths. This is where the singer-songwriter Elliott Smith killed himself. It’s where novelist Janet Fitch houses her heroine in her most recent book, Paint it Black. Fitch uses Lemoyne as a dingy contrast to the high life of the Los Feliz hills in the 1980s. This stretch of Lemoyne is also where the Blue Bottle House – as I call it – has been taking shape for several years. From street level, looking up to the east, you see a property surrounded by a fence and many hundreds of blue bottles filled with water. It’s a piece of folk art that grows year by year. Though it doesn’t appear to be driven by the religious fervor of James Hampton's “Throne of the Third Millennium," which is installed in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Hampton was a janitor who spent fourteen years creating a silver altar that was found in his garage after he died), the Blue Bottle House is undoubtedly a magnificent obsession. Its creator is Randett King Lawrence, who recently told artist Cindy Bennett that he began the work about seven years ago after noticing that he could see the horizon, upside down, inside of a bottle filled with water. Thus, a dream of light began to turn in circles, arches and repeating patterns, almost entirely in blue.
Photo: Blue Bottles #1, November 2006
By Cindy Bennett