Thomas Kinkade, 1958-2012

Thomas Kinkade is dead at 54. He died unexpectedly of natural causes at home, reports his family. [AP]


    1. He’s dead but his, ahem, cough-cough, barf-barf… sugary art survives.
      Maybe the FDA could forbid the sale of it as inducing diabetic coma ?

      1. You might have better luck with the FCC. That guy clearly violates power-level restrictions for broadcasts on the alpha channel…

        1. I’m sorry, but this is the standard uniword dismissal of bougie sophisticates… I’m tired of it.

          Kitsch, like radiation, can be fun in nonlethal doses.

    2. There was a different painting up when this was first posted…I’m curious, why was it changed?

      1. I don’t know.  The first one was more like Radioactive Cottage Garden with Mutants.

        1. I guess one could be charitable by saying:

          “It’s really excellent work for an adult who TOTALLY SUCKS at painting…wow!”

          Point being, I don’t care if Warhol was a child–his drawing still sucked. You can teach a dog to sing and that’s impressive, but you can’t teach a dog to sing well. Depends on what you value.

          1. Yes, but the Warhol has value (though I wouldn’t buy it) because it’s by one of the most influential and highly-regarded artists of the 20th century.

            Provenance (etc.) is often more important in art collecting than the aesthetic qualities of the work.

            Kinkade has never done important or even aesthetically ‘good’ art, and his work (by which I mean the originals not the mass-produced copies) will thus never be particularly valuable, and no one will care if some shitty drawing he did in grade school surfaces in a few decades.

  1. I can understand a certain level of… fudging things on the positive side in an obituary, just in the interest of Not Being A Total Asshole To The Family… but the linked AP article goes for straight hagiography. No mention of criticism for his artistic style, no mention of his legal troubles and shady business practices, no mention of his public drunkenness.

    1.  Are those typical in an obituary, though? He wasn’t that prominent of a person that would warrant a “fair and balanced” view. I did see some mention that his style was pretty reviled by the art world. Anyway, my grandfather, as a sculpture, said that there were artists and there were illustrators. Illustrators are more interested in commercial endeavors, artist to pioneering. To each his own and all that.

      1. Was your granddad taken by the Imperials and frozen in carbonite as a test to ensure that Luke Skywalker would survive? 

      1.  I find his work overly sweet; still, I’d rather breakfast across from one of his each morning, than have to face Dead Hooker Under Bridge over my oatmeal in the cold gray light of dawn.   A place for everything,…etc.

      1. You know what else is trite and formulaic? Rainbows.  I mean what the fuck, rainbows?

      2.  That is what I once thought, but this gallery of some of his greatest works convinced me otherwise. 

        Few artist have mastered their craft to the degree he had, causing deep, almost instinctive, physical response. 
        Like, triggering the gag reflex.  Goosebumps. 
        I feel like Kinkaidism is its own genre. 
        I like to call it the Bucolic Plague. 

      3.  If you’ve seen one Marc Chagall you’ve seen them all, too. (His art was actually profound and beautiful but I’m biased about that). There’s no accounting for taste, smug hipsters be damned. Sure, Kinkade’s work belongs in Hallmark stores instead of the Louvre, but that was the intent, right?

        1. Hallmark stores are more carefully curated than to allow Kinkade. (Don’t’ drink the Kin-kAde, BTW.)

  2. I was willing to categorize Kinkade’s work as “not to my taste but benign and beloved by millions” until I read the New Yorker piece in which I found out he sold canvases that incorporated his DNA into the paint as proof against counterfeiting. Since then, his stuff has creeped me out.

    1.  It’s kind of self-defeating, as all you’d have to do is get a cell or two from him, or one of his paintings, PCR it up and you could have buckets of the stuff.  While I wouldn’t give it wall space, I’ll show my simplicty/lack of sophistication by saying it looks like a pretty painting.  I won’t read more to see why I shouldn’t think it’s pretty.

    2. Scully: Mulder, the DNA tests detect no X chromosome sequences in the sample.
      Mulder: You mean he was spanking the monkey over his paintings?
      Scully: In laymen’s terms, yes. 

        1. Also, that was no sillier than many of the things Scully said, like “Mulder this must be alien DNA.” Really?  Your sequencer came standard with an “alien DNA detector” built in?

          1.  Preston, you need to stop this line of thinking now.  You’re just digging deeper.  What, you don’t think Mulder has cabinets full of alien tissue samples for comparison?  Wake up, the truth is out there!
            Personally, I’m studying to be a Whippet tanker.

        1. I don’t really keep up with straight porn stars since Harry Reems left the business.

    1. As Andy Borowitz said when they stopped manufacturing Hummers: “now people will have to go from door to door telling other people ‘I’m an asshole.'” Shouldn’t be too hard to find a substitute though.

  3. I hate disparaging those who have died, but he was a card carrying member of the “Christian” marketplace.  Kinkade and others like him upsell their stuff because it’s either made by “Christians” or because it has “Christian” undertones.

    1. Ya, and we should burn Da Vinci’s  “Last Supper” too.  Undertones and overtones!

        1.  Straw man. 
          Kinkade and Da Vinci’s works both have religious overtones.  If you discount K for it, how do you avoid discounting DV for it?  It’s a silly measure.

          1. A vastly church controlled art world in contrast to the freedom of expression artists enjoy today?

          2.  Sciurus, no Reply button so I’ll put it here.
            So the church paid the bills back then.  Sounds like some believers were still doing exactly that for Kinkade.  And I have no reason to believe he wasn’t a believer as well.  His personal behavior need not be saintly to indicate his beliefs.  I’ve known a lot of churchgoing people who didn’t practice what they preached.  Some were phonies, and some were just fu**ed up.
            But I don’t buy that the evangelicals were his only customers.  His stuff hangs in too many places to be explained by that.  I think a lot of people saw his pictures as places they’d rather be than where they were.  In my experience, the more comfortable the living standard, the darker the art, and vice versa. 

        1.  I don’t like Christian Bookstore art.  I don’t like Kinkade’s art.  I can’t call it universally terrible, because I’m in a minority who share my opinion. 

    2. Somebody needs to check out the Good Reverend Finster:

    1. Bob Ross’ paintings were trite and formulaic, but never he pretended otherwise. Happy Little Clouds.

        1. I think there is a substantive difference between Ross and Kinkade, despite the fact that both did trite and formulaic work and were both upfront about it–Bob Ross positioned himself first and foremost as an art *instructor*.  His predominant achievement was “The Joy of Painting,” which, I find, is a kind of “other-directed” form of success.  I learned a lot from Bob Ross’ show, and that’s what I recall most–that he *taught* me some techniques and tricks.  His trite subject matter is bound up with an effort to explain how to paint.  As an art student I ended up rejecting trite subjects, etc.  But there’s something of value in understanding technique.  That persists.  I just don’t associate this aim and value at all with Kinkade.

          1. Bob Ross was trying to get you to paint; Thomas Kincade was trying to get you to buy stuff. They’re not really in the same universe, motivationally speaking.

        2. Don’t be insincere, his “gallery” stores in minimalls all upsold his collectability to the rubes.

  4. Hate bad mouthing people who have died but uhm.. his stuff was mostly really unappealing.. Oh well at least the market wont be flooded any more I guess.. 

    1.  I didn’t care for his stuff, but it was the opposite of “unappealing”.  It must have appealed to a helluva lot of people to gross $100 million a year. 

  5. Sleep well, O Warrior for Light,
    May sherbet col’r’d angels speed thee to thy rest.

  6. I used to have a neighbor – vietnam vet turned hippie, mostly cynical about everything in the world except his family – the sort of guy you’d want to have around you in a bar fight.  But he must have had 15 Thomas Kinkade paintings in his house.  He’d always point out something he hadn’t noticed.  It was probably the only thing he had hung up in his house beside family pictures.  And he loved them.   Gave him no end of happiness.  So, for that, I say good for Thomas Kinkade.

    (of course, I had no idea he was only 54 — geeze, I assumed he was in his 80s or beyond!)

    1. I assumed the same.  I guess now I have to go read the bio to find out how this guy became  such an icon so young.

      My bet is that every painting has a metaphysical twin, a combination of Dorian Gray and Pickman’s Model, moldering in another place. With the artist gone, the linked pairs will start to turn… here people will slowly start to notice new tentacled figures emerge from odd shadows in their favorite works… and elsewhere ancient old ones will curse light stains seeping across their own loved paintings, as hip young sarcastic shoggoths smirk and roll their thousand eyes.

      1. Good skies. Delete this comment and trademark that script idea at once! Then get it drawn or filmed. 

        1. Then one dark night years from now, Kincaid and his dark twin would come to collect on their dread copyright, and drag me gibbering into the surf, to depths known only to James Cameron and IP lawyers.

        2. Oooohh… if protagonists from each side had to team up to solve the problem, it could make a great buddy-cop movie.

          “Shoggoth and Hutch”

      2. Kinkade became “an icon” by relentless marketing and franchising, just like McDonalds did.  He did have some skill in painting, enough to be commercially viable if not especially deep, but like Bill Gates, it’s really about the marketing, not the technology.   And you don’t have to paint the shoggoths if your franchising system has enough tentacles.

    1.  No one is charging massive sums for an assistant dry brushing on some highlights($5000 if memory serves me). Kincaid has been a tremendous business success and it is some of the worst “art” I have ever seen.  And I do prefer the other examples, they are not trite and of negligible skill. I don’t know what separates his work from mall art other than the price tag.

      1. Well that makes no sense… if Crehore would sell a painting for a ridiculous sum, would you like her work less?

        1.  I have a dose of contempt for hucksters and Kincaid most certainly was one. Look up some information on his bankruptcy and the lawsuits filed by the single artist galleries that represented him.
          If it is expensive it should be of some quality, I can detect nothing appealing in Kincaid’s work at all, it is truly far and away the worst art I have ever seen on boingboing. He draws poorly, he paints poorly, his color choices are weak and derivative, his composition is poor.  His subject matter is trite and repetitive. And that’s being nice.

          1. Your entire second paragraph is a chain of value judgements. Do you have anything concrete to say about the painting(s)?

          2.  To EH:
            “Do you have anything concrete to say about the painting(s)?”
            Yes, there is a lot of paint wasted in them.
            I didn’t know art had some practical value like a fence or a sandwich?  Their aesthetic value (zero) would be their only value other than $$$ and I see that plunging quickly without a hype machine.

          3. His perspective is fine, the shadows and highlights are correct, the reflections are okay, the brushwork is consistent, the composition doesn’t contain any obvious  tangencies, and any other aesthetics are all subjective to you. Deal with it.

          4. The painting is an image of a cottage with bright glowing windows indicating that a massive destructive fire has broken loose inside the cottage. There is a phallic symbol chimney erected at the peak of the cottage roof, it is ejaculating a small sperm like swirl of smoke which spreads and swirls gently onto a soft warm rotted flesh sky. A path comes out of the background and ends at the bottom of the picture. The path pulls the viewers eyes around the painting. Light from the windows cast down color like tears on to wet reflective surfaces splayed out across the paintings foreground. The cottage is surrounded by nature in bloom. Trees are bursting with leaves, every plant is flowering in full force. Nature spreads itself wide across the canvas, over a neon green color field of grass. A bird flies through the sky. The bird is not native to this area, because this is not a real earth environment. There is a Lamppost, its glowing radioactive ooz, which symbolizes the destructive forces of mankind on his own nostalgic ecosystem. A triangular pattern makes up the form of the cottage like the pyramid on the American dollar bill. The cottage shape is extraordinarily strong and sturdy.

            Curious about what you think of this art.

          6.  @facebook-1386087012:disqus Snig: The shark doesn’t move me, I like Hirst’s Pharmacy series and dot paintings much better.
             If you are looking at modern art as the counterpoint to Kincaid, don’t. There are a lot (thousands) of painters better than him at representational art, the kind featured in American Artist and other mass market magazines.  Skilled painters with real ability who have created real artwork, not a marketing machine.
            The real question is how an artist as mediocre as Kincaid was this successful and I would have to say a lot of people don’t really like art well enough to pay attention to the large group of works created that may appeal to them and Kincaid fans really don’t like art at all.

      2.  They would if they could.  I’ve yet to see any artist dicker for a lower price on his art. 

        1. I don’t personally know a single artist who charges anywhere near what Kincaid charged and I’ve known hundreds.  Most artists struggle to pay their bills and keep doing the work.  Your version of the sharp eyed huckster has more to do with large gallery markets in major cities (and Thomas Kincaid) than most artists.
          The dickering goes on more often on the buyers part.

          1. Do you think those artist-friends of yours would like to sell paintings for as much as Kinkade did?

          2. Struggling artists will take every dollar a buyer is willing to pay.  And dickering always takes two.

          3. I’ve been told by several artists, “Just give me the price of a new canvas.” And you know why? Because they were artists and they were more interested in painting than in selling.

          4. “I’ve been told by several artists, “Just give me the price of a new canvas.”” — Antinous
            Must be nice to have a trust fund. 

            Antinous, no Reply button on your question so I’ll answer you here.
            If they can’t afford canvas how do they eat and pay rent? You say artists are more interested in painting than in selling. Do you believe those are mutually exclusive?

            Hissy fit? You can snark on a still-warm dead guy whose work you didn’t like, but if I disagree with your snark, I’m out of line. Is that how it works for you?

          5. Dude,

            If they had a trust fund, they wouldn’t need the price of a new canvas.

            Are you going to be done with your hissy fit soon? Because I’m getting antsy.

    2.  Because not only do his paintings not have much to recommend them, they are aesthetically offensive.

      1.  But you can learn from them. For instance, SMOKE ! It comes out of chimneys! And it is always a consistent shade of robins-egg blue, no matter how it is lit! That’s some solid stuff.

    3. I’m ambivalent about the candle thing but I really quite like the Crehore painting. It might not be high art but it’s not low art either. It’s evocative and aesthetically interesting, in a deceptively simple way.

      It’s all subjective… except it kind of isn’t in the case of Kinkade. I hesitate to say there’s no art involved (there is) but there’s nothing objectively or subjectively good about it. Others have argued the point already but my feeling about Kinkade’s work is that it’s simply boring and trite. Something you’d see on a cookie tin at best. 

      And he sells it for ridiculous amounts of money to an ignorant public that laps it up. In addition to the offensively saccharine nature of the subject matter he paints, the way it’s pushed on people who don’t know better as being great art is disgusting and leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

      Now, I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone who likes his paintings and hangs them in their home. Despite what I said earlier it really is subjective. But that doesn’t mean that I find such a person to be interesting or to have good taste, and it says a lot about what their taste in other things might be.

      So there’s a certain amount of elitism involved in criticism of Kinkade, sure. But it doesn’t take much to be an elitist regarding Kinkade…

    4. Because it’s churned out glurge, no better than the $50 originals you find at any Chinese-exported  “art sale”

  7. Thomas Kincaid’s success? The best argument for ignoring the masses tastes in art,  architecture, and design.

    1.  “I was just wondering, does this mean uh…the popularity of the group is waning?”

      “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no…no, no, not at all. I, I, I just think

      that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective.”

      1.  No one would be willing to say that in public, it’s too anti-populist in the age of the internet, but it’s true.

  8. Good bye to the Master (Baiter?) of Light.

    Matt Johnson properly satirized Kinkade’s kitsch in his novel Pym.

  9. A friend of a friend on Facebook eulogized him this way:

    “An unspecified source of light has gone out.”

  10. I looked at a number of Kinkade’s works today, more than I ever have in one sitting before. One thing came to mind.

    They all need more Liefeld.

  11. While I don’t like Kinkade’s artistic style, I have to give him props for being a shrewd businessman.  He found a niche market (to generalize, middle-American religious folks) and pandered to their tastes.  Can’t blame him for that.  I’d do the same if I had any…um, talent…worth exploiting.

    And who dies at 54 of “natural causes.”  Isn’t that terminology typically reserved for 80+ year olds?

      1.  It just depends.  I don’t mind folks taking advantage (depending on your viewpoint) of religious folks.  That is, as an atheist, I would *so* create / sell trinkets and whatnots to religious folks to separate them from their money if I had more business savvy.  (Some might use the term “bilking,” but again, depends on your viewpoint.)

    1. Being “shrewd” in business isn’t the same as being ethical, and there have been lawsuits from people who bought franchises from him and found they’d been overpromoted. 

      Dying from “natural causes” means “it wasn’t a car accident or a murder.”  But yeah, it was surprising that he was that young.

  12. My partner, searching for something nice to say about him, said, “rest in peace. He made a lot of people think they were looking at art.” :)

    1. A friend of mine recounts the tale of a woman of his acquaintance who announced one day that she had started reading books. “I’m a reader!”, she cried. And promptly pulled out a Barbara Cartland novel to demonstrate her new found passion for the literary arts.

  13. Now now, don’t speak badly of the dead artist, because in death he goes from cranking out kitsch to being collectible.  Somewhere there is a crazy cat lady with a house full of his stuff who just became a millionaire. 

    1. Probably not. He sold lots of stuff and was rich but the actual paintings will be worth very little.

      1.  There will be a spike in price following his death, which will eventually die down when people go back to thinking of his art the same way as they did before he died. Unless he is canonized by some kind of ironic hipster fad.

  14. They’re saying “natural causes” but I think that might be code for “auto-erotic asphyxiation.”

  15. What a bunch of negative people here it seems … Is it that you truly dislike his style or you dislike the man, or are you simply trying to degrade another human being who is not perfect, just as the rest of us are not perfect in any way?

    Christian or not, he did what made him happy, just as you would. Holding to one’s personal convictions is in a way admirable, and yet he has stumbled (quite a lot in some ways) just as others have. Does this make it fine to degrade the man and his art because you don’t like his path he took?

    Many people look to those images and find happiness and enjoy the feeling the images impart without being concerned of the religious undertones or letting them overshadow the image itself. Kinkade has always been one of my inspirations, right alongside Bob Ross, but for different reasons. Many painters have very different styles, and many “fall from grace” in society’s eyes for making unpopular decisions. If you don’t like his work, fine, but do you have to let go of your own personal dignity by degrading another person in the process?

    1.  I think many dislike him for making the world an uglier place and feel his contribution was a negative one.

    2. A lot of people will take it as an opportunity to prove they know something about art, because they don’t. If they had any self-respect they would just take it as an opportunity to make fun of the dead.

    3.  He took advantage of people’s ignorance.  Plus, in business, he exploited unwary franchisees. He wasn’t a “value-add.”

      1. Hasn’t that been said about many “legitimate” artists?  Pollock, Picasso, Chagall, and (ugh) Twombley?  I won’t comment on his business practices, because I have no first-hand knowledge. 
        His stuff reminds me of Currier and Ives with the color dialed up.  Not my cup of tea, but millions disagree.  They’re shopping for their tastes, not mine.  Who am I to say they shouldn’t pay what they think it’s worth.  Have you seen the stuff in the MOMA?  Is every one of those pieces a fairly priced “value-add”?

          1.  Nope.  Most people don’t like gourmet food.  It tastes good to those who like it, but not to those who don’t.  The reverse is true of other foods.  Neither is good or bad by an objective standard because all taste standards are subjective.
            “Good for you”?  Are we veering into nutrition now?  Do you only like the taste of nutritious foods?  Is there art that is “good” for you, or “bad” for you?

      1. He was still a better painter than Hitler. And given how that played out, it’s probably a good thing he stuck with painting.

  16. I’m going to have to back Amber, here. He wasn’t a visionary like Picasso or Kandinsky or any of the greats, but he didn’t intend to be. Norman Rockwell, Bob Ross, and others were more in the commercial market because they were more about pleasing the crowd.  So? It just seems a little peevish to say “I don’t want to speak ill of the dead” and then add on some shallow shitty comment. He got drunk in public? Artist got drunk in public, film at 11! I have no artistic vision but half my family does and… can dress them up but you can’t take them out. Whoop dee shit. Anyway, I may never have been moved by his art, but I do feel sad over someone dying suddenly at 54, leaving behind a family that loved him

    1. From Norman Rockwell through Leroy Nieman to this guy there is a clear qualitative decline, probably a combination of deteriorating public taste (because “look who breeds”) and a distressing rise in evangelical Christianity (because “look who breeds”). If that seems “peevish,” please note that I did not say I didn’t want to speak ill of the dead. After 25 years in art museums and 35 teaching art history, I truly believe that a guy who trademarks “Painter of Light” after his name on a planet that once brought forth Vermeer and Rembrandt merits his own special circle in Hell.

      1. I’m an atheist who holds no respect for Christian religious organizations.  But the way you rope his works to evangelism makes me sick.  What do I care why an artist paints something?  I’m interested in the piece, not the process.  I don’t care why Da Vinci painted the Last Supper, or Mozart wrote his Great Mass.  I just enjoy them for what they are, not why they are.  If people enjoy Kinkade, then more power to them.  Grow up and stop whispering in the wings like some gossipy no-talent hack, envious of another’s success.  Maybe you should step out of your museums and lecture halls, dust yourself off, and dip your own brush; show us how it should be done.

          1.  I have no doubt that he peddled his art to the evangelicals, and I don’t doubt they loved it.  But that’s a subset of the people who bought it.  Lot’s of non-evangelicals buy his art because they think it looks pretty and they want to hang it on their wall.  Just because it doesn’t appeal to me doesn’t mean it’s “shit”.  I’m sure lot’s of Kinkade fans would think the stuff you or I like is “shit”.  That doesn’t mean it is. 
            Art can’t be good or bad.  All that matters is that you like it or you don’t.

      2. I had a roommate in the mid-80s who worked at a gallery. She used to come home and drink and talk about the Leroy Neiman buyers.

        1. Funny thing is, I was looking at a book of  paintings of Brazil from the 1950s and it was by LeRoy Neiman, and it was actually enjoyable.  Yeah 25 years later he went blatantly commercial, but at one point he actually applied his talent to stuff that appealed to him personally, so he wasn’t just a commercial hack.

  17. I too can’t stand his work. I didn’t want him to die – I wanted him to just STOP PAINTING.

  18. There was a list of the top 15 artists today, getting 4,000,000 to 16,000,000 per piece. Not a one would make it to my wall. While i wasn’t attracted to Kinkaid’s work, it was honest about what it was, and folks liked that. It was not cynical about society as most of the beautiful people who made comments on this list seem to be.

    What is interesting to me is that it is easier now to make a painting, there are more painters now than ever, it is easier to sell your art than ever, and yet, quality art pieces that show great craft, not just some intellectual concept, are very few. In the same manner, it is far easier to write, publish, and have a musical piece using classical instruments performed and paid for, with an almost limitless demand for music and background theme music, than ever before. Yet, most modern “orchestral” music and most pop music is forgettable. What artists from the past decade, what composers are producing something that shows even a modicum of craft?

      1. John Williams is *almost* the Thomas Kinkaid of film music. He takes some classical themes, re-orchestrates them (maybe) and cans them for people who just buy it up.

        I say almost because Williams *can* also compose, and quite beautifully. It’s just it’s a lot easier to re-package some Dvorak or Holst.

        It is possible to have mass appeal and originality. Look at Danny Elfman or Ennio Morricone for some examples of film composers whose works are interesting and largely true to their own style.

        1.  I like Morricone a lot better than Elfman.  And I like Williams better than Elfman, but I do like Elfman.  I like Randy Newman too.  It’s all in the ear of the beholder.   

          Newsflash: Everything is re-packaged.  Everybody steals, consciously or subconsciously.  Nothing you can do that wasn’t done; nothing you can sing that wasn’t be sung.  (That sounds familiar…)

          1. I guess that’s what really separates true “art” from everything else: It’s someone who’s trying to not just repackage something, but to bring their voice into the world and hopefully introduce the world to something that’s never been seen, heard, or done before. It’s why there’s so many failures in art, and why there is so much “bad” art: It’s only after it’s been done (sometimes even long after it’s done) that you can stand back and recognize the artists’ contribution.

            Kinkaid was an artist, but not a painter. His “art” was bringing a formerly “high” medium, marketing it, packaging it, and selling it. He practiced this art every day, and was very good at it. His art had an impact on the world, and changed the way people buy paintings.

            It didn’t matter that his paintings were utter shite. They weren’t his art, in just the same way that many painters don’t care if they’re using the best possible brushes or a musician is using the most expensive musical instrument. They were simply the vehicle through which he practiced the art of selling mass-market art.

    1. How is it any easier to make a painting now than 100 years ago?  None of the techniques have changed and it is harder to sell paintings than ever, photography competes with it at lower cost and oil painting is labor intensive, it takes hundreds of hours to complete a complex realist painting.
      In music the same is true, classical Orchestras are expensive and most commercial uses of music,soundtracks and commercials, make due with synthesizers, many current classical composers do not see their pieces performed by a full orchestra in their lifetime.
      There are however, hundreds of artists, if not thousands painting in a realist style, many teaching to support their families.  You can see the work in magazines like American Artist and groups like the American Watercolor Society or Society of Portrait Painters.
       I suspect however that you would prefer to ruminate nostalgically because you don’t really care much about art or pop music. If you did you would see work done by artists in almost every category that would appeal to someone, much of it done for love of the art.

  19. One of the worst parts of having to go to a funeral home to make cremation arrangements for a dying parent is the part where they make you tour the showroom, which was full of Kinkade merch, like urns for the cremains. Or there’s always the option of the memorial parks he designed. 

  20. Today I shall respectfully refrain from using one of my pet sayings….

    “So and So” is to (fill in the blank) what Thomas Kinkade is to art.

    But seriously,  he never apologized for his style and his many fans adored his homey, warm, kitschy scenes.

    1. homey, warm, kitschy scenes.

      Funny, I look at that painting and Tolkien comes to mind:

      …a wide almost circular pit, highbanked upon the west. It was cold and dead, and a foul sump of oily many-coloured ooze lay at its bottom.

      His paintings all look like radioactive oil spills.

  21. And let he who does not criticize have the last word, but that won’be me because OH, GOD, HIS PAINTINGS ARE AWFUL!  And word of his personal life and apparent hypocrisy and exploitation just made them worse…  (shiver)

  22. I like this nugget from Wiki: on one occasion (“about six years ago”) Kinkade became drunk at a Siegfried & Roy magic show in Las Vegas and began shouting “Codpiece! Codpiece!” at the performers. Eventually he was calmed by his mother.

    1. If you ever get a chance to see the Siegfried & Roy 3D IMAX movie, make sure to sit in the front row. That codpiece will cut off your airway.

  23. A lot of people love his paintings, so obviously they must look terrible.  
    A lot of people like roasted peanuts, so they must taste terrible.  
    A lot of people like sex, so it must feel terrible.
    Ladies and gentlemen, logic has left the building.  But snobbery has taken center stage.  Who is next, Bob Ross?  You gonna discuss his drinking habits, religious beliefs, and marketing?  C’mon folks, Kinkade painted what he liked, and some people liked what he painted.  You can say the same for any artist from Charles Schultz to Jackson Pollock.

    1.  Amen. As an artist I’m certainly no better than a competent hack like TK, but far be it from me to despise him for commercial success. Nor is there much of a reason to hate him for jumping on a particular stylistic bandwagon because you personally happen to be hitched to another.

    2. How do you know he painted what he liked? 

      I strongly suspect (with, it’s true, no more evidence than you seem to have) that he instead painted, rather cynically, what he knew a buying audience likes.

      1.  You suspect that, with no evidence, and you call him cynical?  Have you heard of the psychological term “projection”?

        1.  alright lets throw some evidence into the argument. the popularly recognized Kinkade art style often labeled “painter of light” is bad.  Kinkade’s initial work while getting a masters from the art center in Pasadena was primarily plein air painting.  he has used his wealth to contribute to plein air painting foundations.  his commonly recognized “painter of light” style is not plein air painting and is in no way similar to plein air painting.   his skill as a plein air painter is above average and is most likely what he likes to paint as an artist.  The “painter of light” style is a mass produced series of objects. that according to California state law cannot be defined as art prints do to the method of production and the unlimited amount of each object produced.  The objects are mass produced for a business that deals primarily in nostalgia and religious ephemera. The material produced by this business does not have any connection  to the current artistic community.  Nor is it intended to.  since the invention of the printed image we recognized that the ability to create an image on a flat surface is no longer enough to constitute something as art.  just as the cover of the latest LA times isn’t intended to be a work of art neither is the latest Kinkade painting intended to be a work of art.  it is also probable that snobery is the main source of Kinkade criticism going on in this thread but in this case these people are correct Kinkade’s paintings are bad.  the painting pictured in the post is poorly done.  Even calling that bad art is complimenting the painting far more then it is worth.  And while you could try to use the outsider art argument for someone producing works similar to this Kinkade doesn’t qualify due to his full art education background. 

  24. Is Kinkade’s ultimate revenge that his originals just increased in value?  

    And to his defenders here, I suggest a little more research.  This was a not-nice man who made not-good art.

    1. Value was a function of marketing in this case. Unless he’s endowed an organization to continue promoting his work posthumously, values should tank in a couple of years.

    1.  If he is, then poor Kincade went to the hot place, because Walt is surely there, given his horrible treatment of his hired artists.  According to the guys who worked for him, Walt was a first class s.o.b.

  25. His paintings remind me of the makeup put on toddlers and young girls for pageants.

    In many, many ways.

  26. The worst:

    Licensed Kincaid kitsch items.

    You can find adverts for these in the back pages of the coupon circulars stuffed into Sunday newspapers.  Sometimes in Parade magazine.

    They include things like a giant snow globe with a Christmas village inside. That’s also a music box.

    Or this: Thomas Kincaide Snowglobe Train (collect them all!)

    I sometimes clip these out and send them to my sister — a working artist — in her birthday card, with a note to the effect that there was a delay in shipping but I wanted her to know the item was on the way.

    1. That’s where I first saw that”Painter of Light”(TM) thing. PARADE magazine. Right after an ad for a revolving ceramic sculpture of Raphael’s “Transfiguration.”

  27. Someday, people such as yourselves will like it.  Ironically at first, and then, not unlike hall and oates, unironically. Enjoy

    1. Shit, I liked Hall and Oates from the get-go.

      Sheez a maaan-eatah!!!111 She’s a deadly puma who’ll eat you for dinner and shit you out in the jungle, biotch…

      OMG, the horn solo part in that is trippy and beautiful… always has been, always will…  And can YOU make your hair jiggle like that?  I don’t think so.

      1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – ever since their participation in Little Steven’s Sun City album, I’ve loved Hall and Oates unironically. And I wasn’t especially ironic about it before that.

  28. I don’t have a problem with his artwork.  Looks like colorful places from the 1980’s fantasy books or something like that.

    Would I hang that stuff in my abode?  Yes, and I would hide guns, money and drugs behind it.

  29. Here’s a link for you people who don’t GET TK

  30. Note that in the foreground the waterway is about 12 ft wide, yet deep enough for the rowboat on the bank, which would suggest a canal except the boulders on the banks.  Also where the stone bridge crosses the water, the waterway seems to be more like 50 feet wide. From the scale of the horse and man on the bridge, it seems to be some 25 ft tall and 65 ft wide and made from 1000 lb stones.

    Even though it is not quite dusk, the lights from the house windows cast reflections on the water hundreds of yard away.  This could be a reflection of the sun, except the same light is visible from windows on two sides of the house, suggesting the house contains a light source as intense as the sun.I think those cottages are indoor marijuana farms.  

    1. You know, I’ve never figured this one out:

      If Derndingle is a bowl, and there’s a fountain on the inner slope of the bowl, why doesn’t it fill up with water and drown all the Ents?

        1. The text seems to imply that it’s flowing above ground level. I have a similar problem with the valley before the west gate of Moria, which apparently used to have a stream that flowed downhill and then uphill again to keep the valley from flooding.

    2.  And Dali’s clocks are melting!  What’s up with that?
      C’mon, Sturges, are we really going down that road?  So his stuff makes you and I sick with it’s sweetness.  Fine, we won’t buy it.  But are we now going to critique the realism and physics?  The Sistine Chapel shows people flying, Madonna and Child don’t look Semitic, and Starry Night is completely out of focus, but I still like them.

    3.  The rowboat isn’t meant to go anywhere. That’s where the stash is hidden.

      Also, it’s a Hobbit on the bridge, with a pony. Obvs.

    4. The ongoing theme of “why would anyone build a cottage or barn on a floodplain” is one of my favorites.

      1. from the wiki:
        access to fresh water;
        the fertility of floodplain land for farming;
        cheap transportation, via rivers and railroads, which often followed rivers;
        ease of development of flat land.

    5. The more I look at that thing the more it seems like one of those “how many things can you find wrong with this picture” puzzles.

      So far I have:

      1.  Birds migrating West for the (Summer?  Winter?).

      2.  Indeterminate vegetation season — flowers in full bloom, yet #1.

      3.  Barn hay loft (loading) door is inaccessible above first floor extension.

      4.  Stone houses, and a wood barn — building materials are usually uniform for a given region, determined by relative costs of stone and wood.  Ditto for thatch/corrugated metal roofing combo, fencing, bridge.

      5.  Besides materials, architectural styles differ greatly between barn and houses.

      6.  Wheel tracks along fence, but not going up to bridge.

      This painting tells a story, and the story is that Dorothy’s barn was picked up by a tornado and transported to a Hobbit village near Giverny.

      1. There’s no consistent use of scale for all the animals and buildings in the foreground.  Is that a goat or is it a cow? Is the shed 6 feet tall or 12 feet tall? 

  31. Kinkade fairs well against the novelty kitsch posted on BoingBoing.  I’m referring to , the cats, the unicorns, the portraits made with foodstuffs, ukuleles, old advertisements,  etc… 

    1. It’s only hip as long as its not commercial and not static. When someone starts churning out the same crap year after year, then “nobody goes there any more, it’s too crowded.”

      1.  Like the Louvre!
        Now you’re cooking with gas, Preston.  Hip is not allowed to be commercial, until it is commercial, and then it’s not hip, unless you’re selling it on a “hip” web site that defines it as hip.

        1. Alternatively, the ultimate arbiters of “hip” are women ages 18-35 and what it takes to get into their pants. Because if something gets you lots of tail, that’s pretty “hip.”

          1. There’s a lot of truth in that for males from 12 to 25-ish, but after one crosses the marriage threshold, hip returns to what-I-like.  Dunno if it changes back in case of divorce.  Hope I don’t find out.

            Whippet tanker? C’mon Preston; live up to it!

  32. I’m pretty sure his ‘assistants’ can just keep turning these out for decades and nobody will be able to tell the difference. Assuming they can swallow their shame, and for the money involved it seems a good bet.

    1.  I don’t want to discuss what I’d be willing to swallow for that kind of money.

  33. In a world of ironic, cut-n-paste art,
    Kinkade was the painter who made people think;
    “I wish I could do that”,
    instead of just;
    “I wish I had thought of doing that.”

  34. No offense, but probably one of the most successful artists of the last 50 years. If anyone can turn paint and canvas into million dollar empire I have to respect that. Not many people can do that (David Choe maybe) – and while I don’t own one of his paintings I did admire his take on “generic” wall art. I often went out of my way to walk through his stores – and up until today didn’t know his ties to religion and bad behavior. RIP

    1.  What’s funny to me is, I never realized he was so well known. I’ve only heard of him because he lived in my hometown.

      Bear in mind, I don’t read Parade much.

  35. i read that 1 out of every 4 americans has a kinkade print up in their house. doth makes a whole lot of you bastards protesting too much.

  36. Please don’t disparage his craft, these  paintings make great jigsaw puzzles for the old folks, many hours of entertainment await you all in the distant future.

  37. Seriously, reading the comments here, I despair at what kind of world we live in when we cannot all just come together in peace and harmony and agree that Kinkade sucks.

    The more I read about him the worse it gets.  So, he plants N’s all over his painting, for his wife Nanette.  Then, it gets even stupider.  His double-wide audience might not find all his self-indulgent N’s, so when he signs a N-filled painting, he signs it with a number after his name, for the quantity of N’s.

    And, I’m tired of the “millions” argument. Millions eat Dorito’s. Millions followed Hitler. Millions wear pants. Have the guts to come out and say you like Kinkade or that Kinkade is good art, if you think so, instead of hiding behind the “millions.”

      1.  It actually looked a lot like Kincaid’s.  I was trying to avoid this but I have described Kincaid as Neo-Hitlerian artist for a decade or so.  They both painted idealized scenes of petit-bourgeois landscapes and buildings. I have to say I prefer Hitler’s however.

  38. He passed away in a little cottage in the woods with candles in the windows surrounded by glowing snow.

  39. In a world full of sour, bitter trolls such as those who populate these boards, the loss of another person with a bright outlook on life with his harmless paintings I consider a great loss. Who will miss you when you’re gone?

    1. From what I can see, the only sour, bitter people in this thread are the late Mr. Kinkade’s defenders.

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