The extraordinarily gifted and chronically underpaid Georgia Straight illustrator, cartoonist and comic book artist Rand Holmes of Lasqueti Island died at age 60 in 2002. His Harold Hedd comics are collectors' items and he was respected across North America in the Sixties and Seventies as a peer of cartoonist Robert Crumb (Mr. Natural) and Gilbert Shelton (Furry Freak Brothers). Cannabis Culture magazine ran a profile on Holmes and his art show that was exhibited on Lasqueti Island in March of 2007. Patrick Rosenkranz of Portland, Oregon, has compiled a 328-page biography and a retrospective art book devoted to Holmes' career, The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective (Fantagraphics Books $39.99 U.S.).

According to family friend Kathy Schultz of Lasqueti Island, a close friend of Martha Holmes, widow of the late Rand Holmes: "In 2007, five years after Rand's death, Martha felt ready with the help of her friends to do something with Rand's art and studio on Lasqueti. Patrick Rosenkranz had been asking before Rand's death if he could come and interview Rand and so we contacted him to come visit Lasqueti and look at Rand's work space the way he had left it. From there we decided to get all of Rand's art work together and host a Lasqueti retrospective art show before the majority of his work left the island for safer keeping. [You can view a trailer of this show on youtube. The title is Rand Holmes : Retrospective Art Show.] Patrick took away many of Rand's journals and was given permission by Martha to write Rand's biography."

According to promotional materials: "Rand Holmes was Canada's most revolutionary artist in his heyday, the star cartoonist at the Georgia Straight newspaper in British Columbia during the 1970s. His hippie hero, Harold Hedd, became the spokesman of the emerging counterculture as he avoided work, explored free love, and flouted drug laws. The Adventures of Harold Hedd spread across the globe in the wave of underground comix and newspapers of the era and Holmes became famous - or at least notorious. While his comic character was bold and blatant, the artist was shy and quiet, well on his way to becoming a complete hermit. This book is an intimate and expansive account of a very private man who expressed his deepest feelings in the then disreputable medium of comix. " He didn't talk much but he sure wrote a lot," avowed his widow Martha. This biography/retrospective includes generous selections from his private journals and correspondence, family photo albums, sketchbooks, and personal anecdotes from his friends and colleagues. His artistic history began haltingly on the lonely windswept plateau of Edmonton, flourished in Vancouver and San Francisco, and concluded peacefully on Lasqueti Island, a remote backwater in the Straits of Georgia where he lived out his dreams of pioneering and homesteading. Holmes' life story is richly illustrated with drawings, comic strips, watercolors, and paintings that span his whole career, from the hot rod cartoons he drew as a teenager, dozens of covers for the Georgia Straight, pornographic cartoons for the sex tabloid Vancouver Star, to complete comic stories from Slow Death Funnies, Dope Comix, All Canadian Beaver, Death Rattle, Grateful Dead Comix, and many more. The full-length Harold Hedd comic novels, Wings Over Tijuana and Hitler's Cocaine are reprinted in their entirety together for the first time. This unique collection of art documents a lifetime of work by one of the most talented artists of his generation. Holmes died in March 2002 from Hodgkin's lymphoma, and his ashes are buried next to the Art Centre he helped build on Lasqueti Island."
ISBN: 978-1-60699-170-1

[Contact: Patrick Rosenkranz, 1211 SW 58th Avenue, Portland, OR. 97221, Telephone 503-241-8317 or]

[BCBW 2010] "Art"