Artist gives Comox Valley a visual legacy
From Comox Road to the Courtenay Fish & Game Protective Association and everywhere in between, Brian Randall’s work is a visual legacy for both his family and residents of the Comox Valley.
Randall, born and raised in the Valley, passed away unexpectedly Aug. 2 at the age of 63, but the work of the faller-turned-artist serves as a reminder to his contribution of visual art and design in the area.
“He always said he didn’t think out of the same side of his brain as everyone else,” recalled his sister Debra Chaba. “He was so creative.”
With no formal art training, Randall grew up in the Old Orchard area of Courtenay, and honed his craft at an early age, drawing on newspaper roll ends he grabbed from the former Comox District Free Press once they were thrown out.
“We lived near (the newspaper building) and he would draw cartoon characters on the newsprint,” added Chaba.
Described as “an advocate for the outdoors – he was from the Comox Valley and proud of it,” Randall’s love of nature aided him in his formal career working at the Eve River Falling Department for MacMillan Bloedel near Sayward.
After a back injury put a stop to the physically demanding work, Randall rekindled his artistic side and began working with wood, carving animals, fish and signs for both personal and professional use.
“He got his start in 1986 with a carving for Bear Creek Ranch (in Black Creek),” noted Chaba. “It was 1,000 pounds of carved cedar. It was done entirely with hand tools; he never did anything with a chainsaw.”
He designed wood sculptures for a variety of commercial companies including the falling company he worked for, with a sign in the shape of a saw intricately surrounded with trees.
In the 1980s, Randall began working with metal, looking at the medium as another challenge to further his art.
He created signs for Dove Creek Farm, residential homes, and even the Town of Comox.
Randall’s work can be seen from Comox Road on the Hamilton Logging sign and the ship’s wheel marking the Battle of the Atlantic memorial near the Comox marina, amongst others.
He created address signs for homes, an intricate side table for Chaba, and customized fence signs with his signature design detail — flowers.
“He loved dogwoods and trilliums. The trillium is a spring flower and the dogwood is the provincial flower of B.C.,” explained Chaba.
She added all of his work was created at his home workshop in Courtenay.
Randall is survived by his two daughters, Kasey and Lara.
A service is scheduled for late-September at the Fallen Alders Hall in Royston.