Drum depicting Killer Whale by Rande Cook, Kwakwaka'wakw
Drum depicting Killer Whale, 2007 by Rande Cook, Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation deer hide, wood, pigment 20" diameter x 2.5" deep
Hereditary Chief Rande Cook (K’alapa) was born in May 1977 in Alert Bay, B.C., a small community off the coast of Northeast Vancouver Island that is rich in Native culture. He was raised by his culturally devoted grandparents, Gus and Florence Matilpi who taught him the traditional dancing and singing of his Kwakwaka'wakw culture.He had the opportunity to dance in all different types of masks and developed an appreciation for the carving that was involved in bringing a character to life as a mask. As he grew up, he spent more and more time with his grandfather Gus, observing his artistic talent and asking many questions.
In 1991, Rande decided to move to Victoria, B.C. to pursue other educational opportunities. Throughout his schooling, his passion for the arts grew stronger, as did his talent. He did not limit his style and took interest in many mediums and techniques, striving to perfect both traditional and modern forms of art.Through study and examination, he gained new ideas and perspective on how to bring his own artwork to life. Though influenced by various styles of artwork, Rande is most moved by the strong classical form of the Northwest Coast. It is here that he learned to separate the styles of the different nations along the coastline and appreciate the artistic abilities of each nation's artists. Primarily, Rande's passion came from the Northern tribes of Vancouver Island.
Rande was blessed with a beautiful daughter Jazmine in 1995. As she was born shortly after he graduated from Victoria High School, Rande had to learn quickly and set new priorities. It is out of the love he has for his daughter that Rande began to seriously pursue his art, which has now flourished into a prominent career.Rande was also inspired in his new career by spending time with his brother William Cook Jr., who is an accomplished jeweler. Rande decided to start refining a new medium, and spent countless hours with hisbrother mastering the art of jewelry making. Once he mastered this skill, he strived for more knowledge and sought out other mentors who could help him develop even further.
Rande’s time in Victoria also presented him with the opportunity to mentor with John Livingston, who is the husband of Rande's aunt, Maxine Matilpi. John, a tremendous technical carver, took Rande under his wing and opened new doors in the world of wood carving. Rande worked hard to better himself and the prospect of working under John enabled him to get started as a more serious carver. During this time Rande also met Art Thompson of the West Coast, Calvin Hunt of Fort Rupert, Robert Davidson of the Haida Nation, and Susan Point of the Coast Salish. These prominent Northwest artists, with diverse styles and ideas, have had a profound impact on Rande. Other strong influences in Rande’s work are William Wasden Jr., Don Yeomans, and Beau Dick.Rande has thrived in this rich atmosphere and continues to evolve.
Today, Rande resides in Victoria where he is perpetually inspired by his culture, family,mentors and the artists he meets. His sense of design is sophisticated and unique; bridging the traditional Kwakwaka’wakw motifs with modernist and abstracted styles.Rande is an exciting carver to watch, as he represents the future of great Northwest Coastal art. In February of 2008, Rande was passed the honor of Chief of his family lineage at a potlatch in Alert Bay, B.C.