Home > Uncategorized > Thomas Kinkade: Painter of Shite

Thomas Kinkade: Painter of Shite

I don’t know why I do these things to myself, but ever since I typed the name “Thomas Kinkade” in yesterday’s post, I’ve been kind of outraged.  You know, by the things that pass as cultural touchstones here in Idiocracy – schlocky paintings of hobbit houses and maudlin songs about buying mama new shoes so she’ll look pretty when she meets Jesus.  Or maybe the outrage just overfloweth; I’ve had a shorthand term for this for over 2 decades:  the LCD, or lowest common denominator.  The LCD Principle dictates that anything that starts out kind of hip and cool – TV shows, fashion and decorating trends, etc. – will in short order be rendered into lame pablum for the masses.  That’s because in our society we define success by the baseline of money, and the only way to attract more money is by appealing to more people – which means watering down your concept or product for broader appeal – and, inevitably, turning it into a commercialized, banal piece of shit.

So anyhows, I got this outrage, and I gotta have somewhere to put it; where better than Thomas Kinkade?  It’s not worth wasting too many words, plus there are some great links to people who have said it much funnier than I can, so let’s just enumerate the offenses:

First and foremost, his “art”:

All that's missing is a hairy-footed hobbit racing out the door to escape the "accident" that occured while building the briefcase nuke. See, things have been a bit unsettled in Middle Earth and...aw, fuck it.

This is what a house looks like a split-second before the natural gas explosion blows it apart.

Probably what makes Kinkade “America’s most collected living artist” is the phenom of buying art to match the sofa.  What this means is there are some ugly-ass living rooms out there – a lot of them.

Offense the second:  he’s trademarked the phrase “Painter of Light” and describes himself as above:  “America’s most collected living artist.”

Above and beyond:  that second image was made into an inspirational, straight-to-DVD movie about how Thomas became such a successful “artist.”  I’m pretty sure Lifetime was involved:

Sweet lord, how did Peter O’Toole get roped into this pile of crap?  But I love the snide joke in having Chris Elliott play the guy who hires him to paint the mural  – with the dog on the bike.  To inspire the townspeople.

Further offenses:  he painted this, and actually describes it as follows on his website (note that the link goes directly to the “buy Thomas Kinkade shit” page):



“As part of the redesign of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was asked to provide an image for use on a large wall. A very large wall – truly a moment of destiny for any artist.”

“To create the oil painting that would be the basis for the final mural, I utilized one of the largest canvases I have ever attempted in my studio. A full 6 feet wide, this canvas would be enlarged to create the final epic sized mural. As I worked it was as if heavenly light began to pour upon the canvas.” 

“A final aspect of the creative process came when Franklin Graham himself suggested a fitting title for the work: The Cross. This simple title reflects the lifelong calling and legacy of his father, the evangelist Billy Graham.” 

“My prayer is that this painting will bring hope to many just as Billy Graham has brought hope to millions through the gospel message.”

I saved the best for last, though…check out this post from Salon, posted in June, with this titillating sub-header: 

His pastel dream world has become a lurid place of failed sobriety tests, bankruptcy and Winnie the Pooh abuse

Pooh abuse, you say?

And then there was the time he supposedly relieved himself on a Winnie the Pooh statue in a Disney hotel in Anaheim, Calif., while saying, “This one’s for you, Walt.” (Imagine Ashdown Forest at daybreak, and Winnie is drenched from a spontaneous shower; Tigger, Eeyore flee in terror. Title: “Golden Moments.”) When asked about this last story, Kinkade conceded in testimony that “there may have been some ritual territory marking going on, but I don’t recall it.”

Which brings us to one point of redemption:  the above story inspired one of my favorite ever comments out of context:

N__B said,

June 15, 2010 at 3:59

To be fair, who hasn’t urinated on Winnie the Pooh. I mean, the bear’s obviously into water sports.

Sadly, No!, 6/15/10

Also.  Too.  This guy really hates Thomas Kinkade in a lot funnier way than I do.  And as noted in comments, “Bob Ross could kick this dude’s ass…”

It just doesn’t get any better than that, my friends.

Update:  From StringonaStick’s most excellent tip, you can see the Something Awful crowd’s take on Kinkade at the linkee.  Here’s a sample:







Better yet, commenter B^4’s find:

Cthulu-meets-Kinkade mashup.


  1. December 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I loathe Thomas Kinkade™ with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns. He doesn’t even paint his own shite any more; his franchise farms it out
    assistants to do that, like he’s frickin’ Da Vinci or something.

    • April 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      I could picture his workers looking like Keebler elves.

  2. B^4
    December 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm
  3. StringonaStick
    December 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    The Something Awful website did a very notable group massacre of this guy’s “art” a year or so ago; worth the search, believe me.

  4. fred
    March 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    If you dont like his paintings why dont you find something you like instead of attacking it. Dude, get over your “loathing”

    • Mary-Anne
      April 7, 2012 at 7:58 am

      I agree. You might not like it, but the guy had talent. You could really be doing something more productive or useful than attacking a guy’s life work. Art is subjective. Not everyone likes it. So kindly piss off and let those of us that do enjoy it without your cruel criticism.

      • daniel
        April 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

        Art is subjective, and bad art is liked subjectively by ignoramuses with no taste such as yourself. Try truly feeling and experiencing life, raw pleasure and pain, stimulating thoughts and difficult ideas. Then you will not be able to look at a kinade painting without feeling nauseous. People who find his work depressing are people that truly love life, have hope for human endeavour, that believe creativity can raise consciousness. I sympathise with you if this seems insulting to your vaseline-on-the-lens view of life. But there is more, so much more, get out there and enjoy it!

      • April 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

        If he were a staff artist at Hallmark, I wouldn’t criticize this krapola.

      • Sheldon
        April 12, 2012 at 12:28 am

        Well said, Mary-Anne! Light, warmth, color, comfort. That is what his paintings represent. The critics of his works likely hate Norman Rockwell as well. They probably haven’t an ounce of talent so they commit their time criticizing the talents of others. These are the same people who appreciate ‘Drip Art’.

      • hawaiikaos
        April 12, 2012 at 1:21 am

        Sheldon, this isn’t so much a question of talent as it actions–although frankly I really can’t tell any of Kinkade’s images apart: cottages, lighthouses, more cottages (it’s all just a pink/purple/yellow blur to me)–you could make the same point about Pollack (who at least was a bonafide genius for coming up with something so daringly original), who I assume you refer to by ‘drip’ painting. Actually, go watch the movie with the same title; it addresses the issue of how Pollack took advantage of people’s gullibility via commercialism. Kinkade took advantage of people in the most assholery way (actions).

        I really think the lure of money can be a corrupting factor in art, as well as literature (crappily churned out romance novels have 50% of the entire fiction market, which is like porn magazines getting 50% of the shelf space on the magazine rack), music (American Idol is a pox on humanity), and movies (if I had the money, I would pay Michael Bay NOT to make movies). I do not subscribe to the idea that the market determines what is most valuable in art, simply because the exposure of art to the market is determined by money (which becomes a self-reinforcing loop). Good stuff too often gets lost in the noise of the crap promoted by Madison Avenue.

        It’s fine if its your thing just to want art that comforts you, but you’re missing out. Art at it’s best, challenges you and makes you think. Why do you hate ‘drip’ paintings? Why does it bug you? If you think stuff like that through, you might come to a better understanding of yourself and what the artist is trying to communicate with you. You can use art to expand your mind and perspective, and to be a better person. For instance, a lot of people are put off by Shakespeare because the language is unfamiliar to them–but if you just look up the words and learn them, you’ll unlock some of the most sublime literature and ideas ever committed to text.

        And I actually think Rockwell is awesome–not so much for his early stuff, but the social issue paintings that he did in the civil rights era still moves me to tears (bet you didn’t know he was a big fat lefty). Kinkade’s wonky cottages don’t hold a candle to that.

      • jennofark
        April 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

        I think what all the Kinkade fans are utterly glossing over is the sterility of the work. Perhaps it comforts you because it is so devoid of life and therefore “clean” i.e. untainted by reality? Think about what’s missing in those paintings – human beings or other living things. Art at its best is about people and the human condition. Kind of hard to address those things if all you ever paint are buildings.

      • Mickey Logan
        May 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

        Where do people get this stupid idea that art is subjective? There’s art and then there’s crap. There’s even skillful crap, which described Kinkade’s work perfectly. But crap is still crap. What statement is he making here? What is the raison d’etre for this work? Piss on a cracker has more artstic merit than Kinkade’s entire oeuvre.
        Don’t criticize art? What the hell do you think art is for? To be mindless and pretty?

  5. April 7, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Thomas Kinkade died today. I just found this blog post, and am delighted to see that someone wrote the perfect obituary for him well over a year before he died.

    I’m also stunned that so many people are upset that Kinkade is criticized at all. Hell, even the great artists are criticized. Why should the banal ones be exempt from criticism, too? To listen to these people, you’d think that the mere fact that someone likes something puts it beyond criticism somehow.

  6. hawaiikaos
    April 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Thank the blessed universe this man is dead (yup, I’m dancing on his grave and I don’t care). I wouldn’t have minded his art so much if he hadn’t been so unabashedly huckstery about it. He turned his vaguely pleasant output into mass marketed snake oil for the gullible. Good riddance.

  7. Bigriver
    April 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Hawaiikaos. Wow. U truly have problems.

    • hawaiikaos
      April 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Why? I’m more concerned with you and your use of “U”. Honestly, the dude inhabited the underbelly of crass pop culture (also resident are Dan Brown and the Kardashians)–although yes, there are more overtly harmful people out there that I should (and am) be more worried about.

  8. Karl
    April 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I never even heard of this septic-pump-of-light guy until he croaked. I did a google image search to see what the fuss was about, and, to quote Alec Guinness in The Horse’s Mouth, “it skinned my eyes for me.” Only Alec Guinness/Gulley Jimson/Joyce Cary meant that in a good way.

    Finding this article, along with the Something Awful pics, has partially restored my faith in humanity, so thanks for that.

  9. Pell Grant
    April 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    It is not worth loathing anyone, let alone someone as inocuous as Kinkade. People all have taste, but some tastes are uncultivated. These people have a right to the kitsch of their choice, without hassle from the rest of us.

    • Karl
      April 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Is it possible to truly appreciate the heights of complex and thoughtful beauty without also being outraged by the depths of puerile ugliness? An interesting question, and one well worth– oh, fuck it. The answer is “no,” unless you’ve got spongecake for brains.

      • Ratz2Men
        April 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

        A beautiful sentiment, and well put. I find I no long have any patience for people who say crap like, “If someone makes something that a lot of people like a lot, it can still be great art. You must respect all opinions, or else you’re closed-minded.” This is how we forget how to have standards.

        Also: you must respect everyone’s *right* to have an opinion. But you don’t have to respect anyone’s opinion if you don’t want to.

      • May 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

        What you can do is wait until late 2012 when earth passes the gailctac axis. As soon as our sun did, sunspots stopped. Astronomers know that Saturn and other planets change their spin axis every so often, earth’s cycle is not self supporting, it changes with gailctac axis passing due to the strong flow of particles found at gailctac axis. The evidence of this field should be obvious once you look at how our sun produces neutrinos, many of which fuse back together on their trip to earth because the stuff’ of the universe got hot’. This means the black hole at galaxy center is producing a similar effect on a much larger scale. It explains how earth’s core speeds back up every 12,900 years!!!! nothing else can do that!!!!!!If you think global warming is a problem compared to this, you belong in a straight jacket.

      • hawaiikaos
        May 26, 2012 at 10:05 pm

        o_O I think WordPress is beginning to get little gremlins. 2012 conspiracy theories are quite a leap even for Kinkade worshippers. In any case, bad science is bad *pinches bridge of nose, pained expression, exasperated sigh* Not sure where to start. Black holes may once have been stars but they are not stars now and do not emit–oh fuck it. Hand me the straightjacket now, I’d like to recuse myself from this species.

  10. Fran Tickrant
    April 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Kinkade leaves a void that will now be filled with Terry Redlin accolytes and such as those. But it really doesn’t matter if people retire to their living rooms with a coke glass of boxed wine to enjoy their gas fireplace and gaze longingly at idealized worlds that never existed. It’s a least as good as most video games, and better than bad violin playing.

    • April 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Is Keene still alive?

      • hawaiikaos
        April 12, 2012 at 1:36 am

        Margaret Keane is. The whole history of her and her ex-husband is fascinating (and horrifying).

  11. Phelps Ruggiero
    April 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Thom Kinkade filled a void in life where the only other options were cultural education or neurosurgery. He will be missed by crowds of Occupy participants, Benedictine sisters, and people who never get out.

    • daniel
      April 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      The Occupy movement is about preserving freedom and creativity rather than being enslaved by corporations and bad government. I would be amazed if anyone associated with the occupy movement were a fan of Thomas Kinkade, who used his creative freedom to feed slime to the enslaved dullards and as such became part of the problem rather than the solution. Seemingly you have misunderstood something somewhere along the way.

    • April 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      The Occupy movement? Seriously? I must have seen at least 200 internet posts today alone from tasteless conservatives who are wailing that “Thomas Kinkade’s paintings are right now hanging in heaven,” or some such permutation of that sentiment. There’s not much overlap between that ilk and Occupy protesters. Pay attention!

  12. Rackstraw Upps
    April 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    The man actually could paint, but stopped about his 24th year.

  13. April 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Never even heard of this guy. I wish there were eyedrops to make me forget seeing it.

  14. April 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    My work is pop & cartoony, but this crap makes my work look like Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son”.

  15. Chris
    April 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    What a bunch of miserable mother-f’ers you are. I only hope you don’t have children…and if you do, I truly feel sorry for them having to be raised by such self-loathing morons whose only joy in life is shitting on anything that is somewhat uplifting.

    • hawaiikaos
      April 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      If you think Kinkade was the height of artistic expression (and even you said that is artwork is only “somewhat uplifting”), then you are either blind or haven’t seen any other art. And no, just because I have taste and experience, it does not make me self-loathing. If I do have children, they will be taken to museums and the library and shown examples of art that does contribute positively to humanity, not crass consumerist pablum (though I’ll show that to them too just for the shared laughs/cries).

      • Chris
        April 7, 2012 at 5:50 pm

        I re-read my post because I couldn’t remember giving Kinkade’s work credit as being the “height of artistic expression.” As it turns out, I didn’t, so I don’t know what you’re talking about, you dopey twat. And for the record, I didn’t call his work “somewhat uplifting,” you one-balled, busted rubber. What I said is that miserable fuckers like you shit on anything that is somewhat uplifting. But hey, you can call it “taste and experience” if it makes you feel better. Think I’ll go enjoy something for it’s own sake…free of bitchy little criticisms. You can go enjoy a big bowl of misery. Out.

      • Karl
        April 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        Not sure if…

      • hawaiikaos
        April 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm

        Oh dear, dear, deluded Chris, there’s plenty of things that I enjoy in this world, but none of it involves cheesy art of questionable technical quality, sold to the gullible masses just to bilk them of their hard-earned money by a man who urinated in public (in Disneyland no less!) and was the worst sort of self-congratulating hypocrite. Why on earth would I buy a Kinkade for $1500 (which his hand never touched) when I can go to a museum (or you know, the internet) and admire a Van Gogh for free? There is so much good and awesome art and literature out there that I’m not going to waste my time on painful hackery, and you shouldn’t either. The fact that you’re even defending this hack is what led me to believe you actually like his output (that’s seriously the nicest word I can muster for it).

        If you want something “uplifting” that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, try Maxfield Parrish or Norman Rockwell. Better art by far, and better artists.

        And I’m “one-balled”? What does that mean? I’m not even male. Maybe if you stopped being so dreadfully hateful of people with different opinions you’d get less worked up about the whole thing. The only one who is showing any signs of misery in this is you.

      • Anonymous
        April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

        Just fyi, speaking as if you are somehow morally surperior doesn’t make you look smarter, or like you have ‘taste and experience’. It just makes you look like every other asshole on the internet who suddenly has a Doctorate on whatever subject is at hand. I agree with Chris. Kinkade may not have been a revoluntionary in the field of art, but he did have skill. It would have been nice if he actually put his skill to use making art with a purpose, but instead he sold out. Sometimes that’s just the way life goes.

      • hawaiikaos
        April 19, 2012 at 2:36 am

        Dear Anon, nope, I have no interest in ‘looking’ smarter. I am smarter than 99.98% of the population (I have the high IQ and high productivity to prove it). I don’t think I’m aiming for “moral superiority” (superior vocabulary or ability to form a logical argument, sure, but I don’t know how morals apply here). I would have thought that my opinion, by virtue of being an opinion, would be taken as subjective. This doesn’t mean I’m not capable of being an asshole, because I certainly can be and I’m not ashamed of being one when it comes to calling out even bigger assholes like Kinkade. Remember the story about the emperor’s new clothes? There is value in calling ‘bullshit’ in our society, and I wish people would do it more often.

        If Kinkade had any skill whatsoever, it would be passing off utter crap as something worth forking over thousands of dollars for. He had little technical skill as an artist and did not attempt to evolve his skills beyond the minimum necessary in order to sell to the unwitting masses.

        For instance, look at his command of perspective. It’s ‘folksy’ at best, but I don’t think he was aiming for that (and certainly wasn’t how he was trying to represent himself). I’ve seen several examples where he’s painted foliage shadows for non-existent trees. I’ve seen an example of a rainbow that violates the laws of physics. There’s one painting of a church situated on the seasonal floodplain of a river (which delights the atheist in me, but not, I’m guessing, what he was aiming for). He painted a thick, freshly fallen tree trunk that mysteriously disappears into a shallow stream bed without breaking or evident debris. I have to give him some credit for leaning on his imagination, but clearly the man was mashing together a hodgepodge of fantasy elements to produce an assembly line of self-same images without thinking through the logic of his compositions. He functioned as a fantasy artists, but there are far better fantasy artists toiling away in anonymity on DeviantArt and Tumblr (not to mention old-school home studios), producing technically better, and intellectually more stimulating art.

        Furthermore, failing at any sort of competent scene or character study, he also failed to tell a story in the vast majority of his paintings (compare him to Norman Rockwell, who had a similar broad appeal–Rockwell infused the majority of his paintings with stories, character studies, and easter eggs that rewarded repeat viewings). The result, as Jennofark has stated, are paintings that match the sofa. There’s just not much substance or inherent value in Kinkade’s work.

        Finally, i just read somewhere else that Kinkade was battling alcoholism (I’m not surprised, given his awful public behavior). It makes me feel a bit bad for the guy, because although I don’t know the specific reasons behind the alcoholism, I can imagine that painting didn’t give him a real sense of joy. As a creator, the act of creating things should at least please yourself, if nobody else, and if this wasn’t happening for him, how sad is that.

    • Mickey Logan
      May 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Whereas your children aren’t exposed to anything outside the white perimeter of your gated community. You should have made your body as sterile as your mind ere you had the chance to procreate.

  16. Ssbn623
    April 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Kinkade was nothing but a fraud who used religion to sell piss poor kitsch paintings as real art.

  17. April 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    jennofrak – well said.

  18. Lynn Ritzma
    April 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I Love Thomas, he is the Heart of America, He paints things that we love. I am sorry for his family and we will all miss him until we get to heaven.

  19. jennofark
    April 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I posted an obit, of sorts, here upon the news of Kinkade’s death.

  20. April 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I posted the Kinkade send-up of the urban street scene where you can barely see the Hungry i logo, and clearly see the Hooters logo, to Facebook. It got a number of likes–all from these people whom I know are Christian types. I don’t think they noticed what I was doing. I won’t tell them. I’m going to remain secretly delighted.

    • jennofark
      April 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Of course, you know that this means you are a VERY BAD PERSON! So I’m glad you’ve found our blog.

  21. John Weltez
    April 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Ok first off, Wanna-haka Loogie or Hawaiikaos or what ever the fuck you want to call your self. I agree that Kinkade’s paintings aren’t for everybody including me, and was a dirt bag
    that miss represented himself as a religious man, but he had a talent and in the beginning
    he may have been truly the upright religious man that he wasn’t at the time of his death. So
    why do you hate him so much? Is it so damn hard to accept that people like his work for
    reasons that are good for them, and can you do better? Let me try to guess why you hate the man so much. 1)He owed you money 2) He had the fame and wealth that you wanted but couldn’t obtain because you have no talent for anything and are way too busy hating anyone that does. 3) Killed you dog. 4) Like me, he fucked your mom and didn’t leave any money on the dresser before he snuck out the window in the middle of the night. Yup I just called your mom a whore, and what are you gonna do about it! You’ve been shit talking a man you never met that has done nothing to you, only because (and I used my comments about your mom as an example) you can, and will suffer no repercussions for it.

    And as far as I’m concerned you can shit talk me too because I don’t give a shit, I consider the mentality of the person that’s saying it, and if it’s someone like you I just move along. One more thing when I take my children to the museum and show them art, unlike you I know what I’m talking about and don’t just think it’s great because everyone thinks so. I can show them and tell them what it is that makes it so moving.

    • daniel
      April 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Using arguments like ‘could you do better!?’ and ‘You’re jealous of his success and money’ hardly go any way towards defending the horrific cultural fall-out that was the ‘art’ of thomas kinkade. People who you claim ‘hate’ him, don’t actually hate him. They are people that care about art, creativity, hope, community, and conscious raising. The reason they find kinkades art shit is that it takes those things, puts them in a blender with a lot of sugar, and then drip-feeds them to vulnerable people, robbing them of genuinely good art. It takes both sides to make this happen, but being depressed and calling it how it is is quite logical. Thomas kinkade clearly had blood on his hands in this regard. You needn’t conflate the outbursts that this reductive episode has caused with then screaming at the protesters. Focus on the ideas. Or lack there of in this instance.

  22. John Weltez
    April 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    The main point of my rant wasn’t so much about Kinkade’s art or him, as it was about people who feel free bash over the internet freely because they can (as you can see I din’t
    use a screen name). To a further point, I’ve made my living as an artist for over 20 years and have had to deal with people like this guy over and over again. What is art what makes it good what makes bad, and from an inside point of view sometimes you find yourself in the position of, take whatever the public finds “likeable” about your work and run with it for as long as you can and build off of the name you make for your self later. So what if he made “bad” art, it was art that made some people feel comfortable in their own lives for what ever reason, and as far as him putting aspects of art, creativity, hope, community, and conscious raising in a blender with a lot of sugar, and then drip-feeding it to vulnerable people, robbing them of genuinely good art, well nobody is robbing anybody of anything. People freely walked in and bought a painting, and if they thought it was an investment they should have done their homework. The bottom line is when you get to a certain point art becomes a business that an artist can lose himself in, and he did and he suffered for it both professionally and personally. And for the record I never really fucked that other guy’s mom, or said he was jealous of his success and money. I simply included those as possibilities as to why he hates Kinkade, and yes I do believe he hates the man, and that’s fine with me he can but he should have a bit more respect for the talent and hard work and creativity it takes to create art of any kind, even his.

    • hawaiikaos
      April 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Okay John, I’ll respond to your vile trollishness. First of all, I am not hiding behind a screen name. If you had 3 IQ points you would know that avatars are clickable and you would be taken to my website. From there you would learn my real name and what I do for a living (and what I do for fun). From there you could also choose to harass me on Twitter. There’s all sorts of stalkerish, hate-indulging options available to you if you are so inclined and put an iota of effort into it.

      Secondly, you diminish the momentum of your arguments by resorting to swearing an namecalling. Sure, it’s the internet and anything goes, but please, try a little harder to apply a little creativity in your insults. You just come off as an unpleasant, uneducated hick otherwise (clearly you have no idea who Dorothy Parker was). If you said any of these things to me in person you would be clutching your genitals in pain in short order. You sir, are no gentleman (you are also a sexist, since you default me to male without question).

      Thirdly, if you don’t like Kinkade’s stuff, I’m not sure why are are so adamantly defending him. Some sort of misplaced artist camaraderie? Perhaps you want to emulate his entrepreneurial trajectory? I have no problem with artists following their own path, but the man either put on a show about thinking his output was any good, or he actually did believe he was good (I’m basing my impression of him from a 60 Minutes segment that ran about him several years ago–the guy appeared to have an ego the size of a Zeppelin). If he had been either humble or admitted to the showiness, I’d cut the guy some slack because at least he would be honest, but as it is I’d group him with the Jim Bakkers and Kris Kardashians of this world. It’s one thing to want to make a business out of something, and quite another to be a shameless, self-absorbed, money-grubber.

      Finally, I’m sorry that you’ve become so jaded with your art that you are willing to kowtow to public opinion and “run with” whatever the public favors. Screw em! Art isn’t just what sells, or what makes the consumer happy, it is first and foremost what makes YOU happy. If you are creating what you want, the way that you want it, who the hell cares what anybody else thinks? And this also gives you armor against negative criticism–I know, I’m a writer. If you make the art you want, but can’t make a living from it, then you need to pick up a secondary job. Don’t compromise your art for the almighty buck.

      • daniel
        April 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        Alright guys, I think that’s probably enough. By the sound of things, we all pretty much agree, and some misunderstandings and overexcited keyboard bashing needn’t mean everyone carries on.
        The consensual points seem to be these:
        1. Thomas Kinkade’s art is rubbish, objectively speaking, and whilst we don’t deny their rights, we do pity those who bought it.
        2. That creativity can be a wonderful window to new thoughts and feelings, and that beauty should be shared with the world.

        I think if we’re honest, clearly compromises are made in the creative process when money is involved, and that doesn’t need to be a bad thing. I don’t really have a problem with people liking rubbish stuff.

        In the uk where I am the closest I can think of is the painted porcelain models of ducks and princess diana, it is lame people like it but free will is what it is.

        The reason Thomas Kinkade is a nightmare is that he snuck into the artworld in a consumerist trojan horse. I experienced him for the first time when visiting Lake Tahoe, my first time in the U.S.

        There was a mock up living room where you test drive the ‘art’, complete with soft furnishings and a gas fireplace. It is this dumbing down that is the cause of anger, because where one voice (kinkade’s) was in a position to vomit syrup all over enthusiastic simpletons, we strive for a society where in that moment the aspiration to own or view art precipitates a meaningful experience of some kind.

        Anyway blah blah blah, but from where I’m sitting (and I’ve no idea why I’m even writing on this website), we all pretty much agree, certainly enough to avoid calling each other names. It bothers me because we should be united, in one voice as we proudly sing together, that Thomas Kinkade’s ‘paintings’ are utterly utterly shit.


      • hawaiikaos
        April 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm

        Thank you Daniel, you are a lovely and reasonable human being (certainly more reasonable than my keyboard mashing fingers allow me to be).

  23. daniel
    April 12, 2012 at 10:57 am

    jennofark :
    Art at its best is about people and the human condition. Kind of hard to address those things if all you ever paint are buildings.

    I disagree, you could paint only buildings and achieve all kinds of things that evoke feelings and critique various things. There were russian painters in the 1700s who painted vast landscapes, no people or buildings, but the paintings were hugely political, mother russia and it’s vast power, and the impossibility of the individual. Thomas Kinkades ‘paintings’ are shit in every measurable sense, not because of pictorially what they are, but what they contain, ie. Nothing.

    • jennofark
      April 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      You’ll get no argument here. I said about the same thing in my “obit” – that there’s nothing behind it other than “what will sell?” which makes it impossible to connect with on any level other than “the colors match the sofa.”

  24. todd
    April 15, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Daniel must be the leader of the ignorant hater hobbits with no talent of their own.. and probably no way to make $ of their own. Maybe that was T.K.’s greatest talent.
    Jennofarce what are you at your best? An ego driven self proclaimed art critic who has stolen someone else namesake?
    Hawaiikaos.. your ego obviously thinks anyone cares. They don’t. Get over yourself.
    Rubbish.. your “no light” on the subject opinions are rubbish. Try keeping them to yourself, we aren’t impressed.

    • jennofark
      April 15, 2012 at 1:04 am

      Given that I’m in my own living room, as it were, here on this blog, you don’t really have standing to be telling me to keep my opinions to myself. If you don’t like them, you can go somewhere else.

    • hawaiikaos
      April 15, 2012 at 4:06 am

      Todd, have you read the blog post that you are commenting on? It’s about how awful Kinkade’s art and behavior is (subjective opinion, granted, but based on documented facts). All you are doing with your comment is spewing trollish hate at people who have a different opinion of the man and his work than you (speculative accusations based on wild conjecture–and is that what you would say to us if you met us in person?) It’s not a particularly effective strategy for winning people over to your argument that Thomas Kinkade is awesome because he was good at bilking people of their savings.

      And sure, maybe no one gives a flying fig what my opinion is, but I care about Daniels, Jennofark’s and others who have voiced their dissenting opinions against the apparent legions of Kinkadenazis who think it’s somehow criminal to dislike trashy art and its sadsack creator. I also care about the opinions of the people who supported Kinkade and enjoyed his work, but were still able to discuss his legacy and output in a rational manner.

      So here’s a lesson in civil discussion (ironic coming from me, I know): debate the opinion, not the person giving it. Otherwise you just sound like a politician on the stump. Good day sir.

    • daniel
      April 15, 2012 at 6:54 am

      Hi todd. I am not the tallest person, but do make £ of my own from time to time. You can judge whether or not I have any talent, I wouldn’t like to say- more of a work in progress at this stage, but happy to be criticized since I am here doing the same. So here’s a link to a film I made and you can tell me how shit it is, then perhaps we can call it a draw.

      It is a bit long, I admit. And not entirely what I had planned it to be.

      • hawaiikaos
        April 15, 2012 at 8:12 am

        Well I for one thought it was cool! But then I write scifi so this is completely up my alley. Loved the bit with the raspberry. Gave you an SO to my 7K Twitter followers :-)

      • jennofark
        April 15, 2012 at 9:22 am

        Well, I thought it was pretty awesome, even though a bit disturbing. I think the point here is that inanimate objects can convey feelings and emotions. You’ve accomplished with a bunch of wires what Thomas Kinkade never managed in thousands of paintings. (I have to say though, that opening landscape was frightening – I found myself thinking “I’d hate to trip and fall on that.”)

  25. May 1, 2012 at 12:03 am

    daniel :
    Art is subjective, and bad art is liked subjectively by ignoramuses with no taste such as yourself. Try truly feeling and experiencing life, raw pleasure and pain, stimulating thoughts and difficult ideas. Then you will not be able to look at a kinade painting without feeling nauseous. People who find his work depressing are people that truly love life, have hope for human endeavour, that believe creativity can raise consciousness. I sympathise with you if this seems insulting to your vaseline-on-the-lens view of life. But there is more, so much more, get out there and enjoy it!

    bullshit, those that can,do, those that can’t, criticize.

    • hawaiikaos
      May 1, 2012 at 5:34 am

      Your argument is invalid. Google “Thought terminating cliché” to find out why.

  26. May 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

    So I’m jusyt supposef to acept that “Thought terminating cliché” rubbbish from you? Well google STFU moron. hawaiikaos ha ha more like hawaiidildo.. If you don’t like Thomas Kinkade fair enough but don’t assume anyone else wants to hear your tired bullshit critique.

    • hawaiikaos
      May 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Ah, another individual who lovingly embraces ignorance and intolerance. This species is doomed. At least hit the correct reply link instead of posting a whole new thread (that’s so annoying).

      Seriously though, if you want to actually SWAY people to your perspective, you might want to bone up on the logic skills, whether or not you learn the terminology. Maybe make some points as to why Kinkade is actually redeemable would be a good way to start.

      • daniel
        May 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm

        you’ve got to admit the ‘well google STFU moron.’ line was pretty good.

      • hawaiikaos
        May 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

        Well I’ve been burned better. On the Parker Scale of zingers (like the Richter) I’d rate that one a 0.5.

  27. June 1, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I’m relieved to find that I’m not alone in my hatred for Kinkade and equally trite artwork. I recently mentioned him in a blog, and a related Google search crapped me out here. Glad I found your blog by chance!

  28. Jack
    November 1, 2012 at 1:28 am

    I’m not a huge fan of Kinkade’s work, but I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Maybe it was fake nice, I don’t know, but it seemed very genuine.

    He was obviously going through a rough time at the end of his career, lots of drinking. I don’t think even the haters can deny that he was extremely talented. He filled a niche for some people, I’ve literally seen people cry upon meeting him. He painted some very generic pieces that moved people and made him money. I don’t see why anyone would wish death upon someone like that. It’s sickening really.

    • daniel
      November 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      hi jack
      Not sure why i get email notifications about this blog I happened to comment on aeons ago.. Interesting to at least hear a human perspective. I never knew anything of him other than his horrible paintings but always assumed he was probably an alright guy. If what you’ve read here has made you think people genuinely wished death on him or anyone I think you’re a bit wide of the mark, it’s all mainly innocuous trash-talking of his paintings and what their popularity says about us more broadly. But for my part and behalf of others here who may have over stated things a bit, certainly no serious offence nor wishes of injury or death were the purpose of this conversation, but do accept my apology if this is not as apparent as it should be.

  29. pops
    December 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    kinkade sucks. only thing worse than seeing his paintings is walking into one of his galleries and being surrounded by dozens of them; and eager salesmen primed and ready to bullshit about all of it with that jonestown/heavens gate gleam in their eyes.

  30. pops
    December 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    possibly even more obnoxious than t.kink. = william wyland. i rather chew on my intestines than look at another one of his fkin smiling dolphins…

  31. August 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I really think Thomas Kinkade is too inconsequential for anyone to get worked up about. (The sad thing is that his religiosity probably wasn’t completely a fake; on some level he knew his behavior was a betrayal, and maybe that killed him, poor man. But I don’t know and no one will ever really know.) What is also sad is before painting all those dreadful paintings he apparently was a decent commercial illustrator, who did backgrounds for animated cartoons and wrote a useful book on sketching, I think.

    Here’s what I find objectionable; not that his paintings were kitsch (for some people that’s all the art they can ever appreciate, better than nothing) but that he tried to work up a political/moral justification. Instead of just saying “Buy my art because you like it”, in at least one interview I saw, he seemed to be saying “buy my art because Modernism is Satanic!” that’s politics, not art and politics corrupts art. It’s the same thing that certain phony modern artists do with their own kind of kitsch “Buy my mediocre pickled shark/chrome cartoon porn statue/whatever because you need to Fight The Power.” Same thing – appealing to something other than aesthetic worth to sell your stuff.

    • daniel
      August 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      indeed, well said.

  32. Don Bynum
    August 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I love his paintings, don’t know the man, but as a man I’m sure he had his demons. If you can’t look at his paintings and see that he expirenced Gods peace & love and transfered it as best he could to a canvas, maybe you havn’t expirenced that peace & love or maybe your just not looking with the hearts eye. I lived my childhood years in a town that his paintings remind me of. His paintings takes me back to a specific time when I was on.a snow covered street in front of an old fashioned steepled church with large lighted fraser fur Christmas trees on either side of it..Across the street was an old type street lamp somewhat like the ones he painted The snow was gently falling, it was so quiet I felt it would be wrong to interupt that silence with a word or sound. As I looked around I couldn’t help but see the peace & beauty of Gods creation I was overwhelmed with a feeling of joy & thanksgiving and awed by Gods glory and goodness. I feel the world will miss his abillity to show a glempse of Gods love of his creation in his paintings… I know I will… PS pardon my spelling, no spell check.

    • August 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      I for one get very emotional when I see a steaming pile of dogshit.

  33. Nullifidian
    June 24, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    What a lovely story of faith and creativity Kinkade tells in his story of the making of “The Cross”. The only thing I wonder is what point in his creative process he decided to plagiarize Caspar David Friedrich’s “The Cross in the Mountains” (“The Tetchen Altar”). He doesn’t seem to mention that moment….

  34. Stan
    January 16, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Sounds a lot like sour grapes from the God-hating unsuccessful who have nothing better to do than hate. TK happened to also like painting what hordes of the apparently uncultured loved. He enjoyed the success himself which is much more than we can say of many “Masters” who died penniless as their works were harshly criticized in their own day but later became priceless. Obviously, TK didn’t live his life to please someone like you. As for me, I put art in my home that I like and that I enjoy seeing everyday. Most of what you would probably call art to me looks like the “shite” I did in kindergarten.

  1. April 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm
  2. May 26, 2022 at 12:14 am

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