While not officially recognized as its own country, the psychedelic recycled art kingdom known as Randyland is definitely a world all its own.
Randyland is the labor of love of Pittsburgh artist Randy Gilson, a local artist and neighborhood renovator. Over the years Gilson has almost singlehandedly turned a blighted neighborhood corner in Pittsburgh’s Mexican War Streets into one of the most colorful spectacles in the city. Every square inch of his corner building is brightly painted and decorated with pink flamingos, giant banana plants, mismatched lawn furniture, mannequins, and plastic dinosaurs, among many, many other pieces of found ephemera. The space functions as a home, garden and artist’s space that Gilson shares with likeminded creators.
After turning his home into a candy-colored anti-depressant of a structure, Gilson has spread his artistic influence to the surrounding areas of the neighborhood, seeding art and installation projects throughout a 30-block radius. He has erected hundreds of “streetscapes,” worked on establishing multiple public parks in empty lots, and contributed to a number of community gardens.
Prior to the establishment of Randyland and its joyous influence, Pittsburgh’s Central Northside was a neighborhood in decline, but Gilson’s enthusiasm, elbow grease, and scavenger’s instincts have managed to turn the area into more wonderland and less copland.