Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Artist Himself: Rand Holmes

Published by Fantagraphics, The Artist Himself: Rand Holmes is a true artist retrospective. It wonderfully chronicles both the art and life of artist Holmes, illustrated througout with what is likley the most comprehensive catalogue of his art available.

Several of his indie comics stories are re-printed in full, as well as selected paintings and personal art pieces that show his tremendous skill and adaptability. His fine art paintings are pristine and inspiring, but I myself adore his black and white comics art that holds the style of the greats and clearly represents the best of the indie genre. The pages are at times rough and loose, yet elvolve over time in to pure comics craftsmanship. Holmes covers many subjects of his day, which thankfully include a healthy dose of drugs and smut.

Any art fan or would-be comics historian will revel in the text that rolls over the years of the birth of the underground comics scene through the indie comics boom of the 80's. This peppered with the story of one artist's life and all his ups and downs, loves, losses, struggles and successes. At times Holmes seemed to have lived a hard-luck life, at others a carefree hippy lifestyle with just the right amount of luck. It's decades before Holmes finds his place as both an artist and a man, sadly his final determinations come only shortly before his death. This, along with other key moments of his career, is punctuated by Holmes' own journal entries, heightening the personal tale with few details omitted. It is an amazing story of an amazing storyteller.

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