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The Time I Met Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade — The Artist We Love to Hate

Although Thomas Kinkade passed away several years ago in 2012 he is still a polarizing figure in the world of art. His business approach inspires envy and disdain, depending on who you talk to. During his life Kinkade was consistently in the news. There were legal disagreements between his company, former employees, franchised gallery owners, and the FBI. But at the same time he was dealing with such scandals (and perhaps because of them), he was simultaneously and bar none, the best-known contemporary artist in America.

The Time I Met Thomas Kinkade
Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade created a sizable fortune with the business he created. Thomas Kinkade Studios is still run in his name. He started by publishing limited-edition reproductions of his nostalgic paintings of cottages nestled in woodland settings, which were signed with biblical references and marketed through a network of galleries using the trappings of wholesome family values.

His work appeared on greeting cards, wrapping paper, puzzles, mugs and other household sundries. You could purchase his prints and hang them in your home. Many artists hated him as he banked millions with the general public making him rich and famous.

Meeting Thomas Kinkade

I first met Thomas Kinkade more than 35 years ago when he and James Gurney stopped by my office just before heading off to Europe. They were to have their resulting travel sketches published in a 1982 book, The Artist’s Guide to Sketching, published by Watson-Guptill.

I met up with Kinkade again in 2001 when I agreed to published an article on his artwork, include several of his essays in American Artist, and write the text of a book on his plein air paintings, The Artist in Nature: Thomas Kinkade and the Plein Air Tradition (also published by Watson-Guptill.

Could His Success Be Repeated By Others?

I was roundly criticized for endorsing what many considered to be mass-produced greeting-card art. But there was something fascinating about the larger-than-life man who achieved an extraordinary level of financial success through painting. I wanted to understand how he accomplished that success and determine for myself if there was something about his marketing techniques that could be applied to the sale of more sophisticated art. Moreover, Kinkade talked earnestly about contributing to a foundation that would benefit representational artists that appealed to me deeply.

The Time I Met Thomas Kinkade
Thomas Kinkade

Lessons Learned from Thomas Kinkade

In the end I had to admit there was little that Kinkade could teach artists who were creating unique and personal drawings and paintings. I should have recognized that his marketing depended on making duplicate images and wrapping them in the trappings of fine art and religion.

The only worthwhile lesson I learned from Kinkade was that collectors do respond to paintings that tell stories. They are moved by understandable images, pleasant colors, and tight details.

I could have learned the same lesson from artists who told biblical stories during the Middle Ages. But Thomas Kinkade brought visual storytelling into the 21st century. You have to give him that. He is the artist who showed how representation could still be king.

The Time I Met Thomas Kinkade
Thomas Kinkade

The Brand Lives On

Thomas Kinkade’s brand is still thriving. The “studio” has more than 24,000 Instagram followers. It secured a deal with Disney to create an extensive suite of limited edition prints and posters of Disney movie characters. The Thomas Kinkade website is active, and so is its publishing business and licensing arm. The artist’s work continues to be licensed for events and products worldwide. You can likely say that Thomas Kinkade, even years after his death, is here to stay.

Is there anything worthwhile to learn from him—either as a good example or a bad one? I’ll depend on you to have the last word to that question.

Kinkade painted over-the-top scenery and that’s no crime. But put your own spin on woodland streams and appealing forest scenes with Country Scenes in Acrylics. 8 easy-to-follow, start-to-finish painting projects show you the way — enjoy!

Steve Doherty is a writer and artist, and was the editor-in-chief of American Artist magazine for more than 25 years. This article was originally published in 2009.

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63 comments on “The Time I Met Thomas Kinkade

  1. Judi B says:

    I applaud him for his marketing.
    I don’t believe in the “starving artist” stereotype.
    However, far from being comforting scenes of Christian nostalgia, I find his “jigsaw puzzle” paintings to be ominous, foreboding, and dark, literally and figuratively. They are very “low key” and this is not what I would expect coming from someone with the nickname “painter of light.” In my opinion, his paintings aren’t light at all. To my eye, they are settings for evil, nightmarish, even fairytales. Many of Grimm’s tales were surprisingly scary too.

  2. Amanda B says:

    I believe Thomas Kinkade was sincere in intention of making the world a better place and I know Jesus likes his art. He honored God with his work and God is honored by it.

  3. Rochelle L says:

    Why in the world is it fashionable to “hate” Thomas Kinkade’s artwork? I have loved it all my life. I do much more contemporary art myself but I admire his nostalgic approach to art and his skill in doing it. I don’t care about his business practices, he was obviously successful but I’m really appalled at the idea that hating Thomas Kinkade is widespread and the thing to do. That’s a really sick and anti-artist approach by the Artists network.

  4. Bill M says:

    I don’t hate Thomas Kinkade at all. In fact I am relieved to have the proof he gave us that figurative art, when produced with great skill, can create its own space in the economy.
    In an age when “the wise” decree that artists must slavishly follow the trail of the abstract expressionists, it is encouraging to see an artist simply follow a path that pleases him and become wealthy in the process.
    Is there an inherent virtue in poverty? There certainly are many noble people who are financially poor, but their nobility is in their character, not their net worth.
    I don’t paint like Kinked did, but would not be ashamed if I did. I would not apologize to anyone for that style, especially to another artist.

  5. GEORGE D says:

    So many pretentious people here. You don’t like Kinkade? Or is it you have a serious case of envy? Too many “artists” think they have created great art, but can’t sell worth a damn. And too many “artists” sell paintings that are a waste of space. The reality is, whether we like it or not, the public drives the market. You can paint great art, but if you don’t sell the only thing you can do is die and hope to be discovered, like Van Gogh. Or you can get lucky and paint a dark line around a white canvas and con some curator into buying it for their museum. All said and done, art is what the buyer thinks it is. Just because I don’t like your paintings and you don’t like my paintings doesn’t make them less or more art than someone else.

  6. JudyPalermo says:

    So many heated comments- yes the Kinkade name is one of infamy, which is not the same as fame. But to get to the point of Hate, Envy must be a component of that, although the promotion of copies as investment-worthy was downright shameful.
    Years ago in my local mall I passed a TK Gallery, and they had a woman right outside the door, painting a copy. It’s true, no one cared whether the actual oil painting was painted by him.
    I bought the plein air book Steven mentions, years ago online, hardcover w/plastic dustjacket, for 10 cents (3.99 shipping)- talk about disrespect! But his plein air work was good, serious stuff- worth a look! At the book’s end he takes a plein air, and excitedly shows a studio piece inspired from it- his usual sugary stuff. I thought ‘EWW!’ but he must really have liked painting that way; in that respect I thought he was sincere.

  7. Robbie Fitzpatrick says:

    Most of the time, I love articles from this site; however, this is one of the most ridiculous ones I’ve seen. So, many of you don’t see why an artist should make a good living……some of you really put down Kinkade because he didn’t paint well….some even denigrate those who bought his work, saying they obviously didn’t know what good art is….some added that since those folks were poorer, Kinkade targeted them…leaving the wealthier folks to buy sophisticated art. I’m an artist, and I see lots of really wealthy people pay huge amounts for paints that I don’t think are very good at all. I may not want to paint like Kinkade, but I see something pretty in his work, and I suspect a lot of people do. They easily could have purchase calendars full of “sophisticated art,” but they chose his.

    I also see artists making quite a good living selling art — some good, some not so good — and adding to that income by getting paid to judge shows, AND getting paid a lot more by presenting workshops along with those judging assignments. Where’s the outcry?

    I’m glad there are different artistic styles, and many, many venues where you can purchase art….whatever kind of art you like. Also, I’d back off the criticism just a bit…it sounds a little like sour grapes.

    • Rochelle L says:

      It is sour grapes, my guess, because the artist was successful.
      But to put down his subject matter and his style of painting as this article and some of these comments do – is beyond arrogance. Everyone has the right to paint whatever they want. If I want to paint mermaids, I’ll paint mermaids all day long and if you have a problem with that (not you personally) TOO BAD!
      I have seen horrible schlock art go for thousands if not millions of dollars. It actually took some talent and skill to do what Kinkade did.

  8. Joanzie1123 says:

    Artists, get over yourselves. The arrogance in the artworld, even by mediocre artists, is laughable. Everyone is drawn to something different. Let people be. Kinkade smartly found a niche for his “product.”

  9. Joanzie1123 says:

    Artists, get over yourselves. The arrogance in the artworld, even by mediocre artists, is laughable. Everyone is drawn to something different. Let people be. Kinkade smartly found a niche for his “product.”

  10. Artistguy says:

    Why is it that you all seem to think its okay for every type of artist to make copies of their Art and sell them except fine artists? I love Kinkade’s Art and his marketing was genius. No one complains when a musician makes CDs and endorses other products with their music. I guess you all think they should only do live performances. And the same with actors. I guess they should only do live stage performances. No movies. No tv shows. No recordings. Authors should only do live recitings and print no books. But you all buy them. Then you complain and “Hate” fine artists that want to make their Art available to everyone. You call them sell outs and evil marketers. You’re all acting like a bunch hypocrites. To be a successful artist you need talent and marketing skills or your Art will rot in your grandmas attic and no one will ever benefit from it. I’m guessing all you haters have no talent of any form of art. I agree with those that say you are all jealous of his success. I hope you hate my Art someday too!

  11. JennieOC says:

    Kinkade, or his marketing team (whichever, he was still responsible) appears to have dangererously shaded the truth to sell his art. That is reprehensible. However, let’s not fault him for being both artist and business person. Being a business person through selling one’s art does not betray the artist or the artist community. Let’s admit it, he was very successful at determining the emotional needs, wants, and desires of his potential clients and creating art to meet those needs. Art is in the eye of the beholder and no one can honestly claim to be the only arbiter of artistic excellence.

  12. [email protected] says:

    I don’t hate the art, but I hate what he did. As for the paintings, I thought they were pretty, but not worthy of all the attention. What bothered me was how Kincaid created a mystique about his technique. So, just to put into context how popular his paintings were and to prove to myself how simple the technique was, I painted three copies. All three sold almost immediately. And yes the buyers knew they were copies. But I don’t see how what Kincaid did was any worse than what Warhol did. He was a great business man. Great artist? I don’t think so. Liar and deceiver? Most certainly. I like to paint. I’ve sold a few and won a few local awards. Nobody knows who I am or if I’m good or bad. Kincaid is the bane of art and artists, but here we are still talking about him.

  13. mstrick96 says:

    Kincaid continues to be mis-understood.

    He was an outstanding and very sensitive artist who was an incredible master of his craft. His problem was that he got himself entangled with an unscrupulous marketing group.

    Once he was trapped, he was unable to see a way out. They had him trapped financially and artistically. Kincaid wasn’t the source of the lies and lowering of artistic standards. It was the manipulations of the marketing sharks.

    Marketing is a manipulation of perceptions, whether honestly or dishonestly. This group trapped him, and then weakened him and finally killed him.

  14. pagnes says:

    I do not hate any artists, but I hate this kind of sickening and fake type of paintings, it remembers me the cheap looking stuff on Piazza Navona of Rome, all paintings very similar, very commercial, without any artistic value (probably mass product made in China). What I look for in artworks, (the technique apart) is the truth, the message, the vision of the artist, honestly represented. IMHO there is no such in Kinkade’s art, it’s simply a fake world to please a public that does not ask itself important questions, that lives in the world of telenovelas. It’s a cunning, commercial art. If he has had so big success it’s a shame on American public’s taste. Of course anybody can buy the art he/she prefers, but, sorry, it is not fine art. I do not intend to offend anyone, it’s simply my honest opinion.
    I wonder how could James Gurney who I estimate very much, collaborate with him.

  15. John_Edwards says:

    Yes, there is much we can learn from a Thomas Kinkade. Which is the same we can learn from Ansel Adams, and other “relationship” artist. Their work consists of a genre that captivated the soul of their audience. The light in the window, brought back memories of home, or of a home hoped for. A black and white forest shows more to our cognitive eye then color does, Ansel Adams captured what steel and cement took away from our daily view. Call Kinkades work what you will, from here the negatives sound like school yard children jealous over his lunch is better then yours.

  16. bellesouth says:

    I don’t hate him, and I think it demeans us as artists to hate another artist. His work is not my cup of tea, but it touched a chord in people and no one can argue that. If his ways of doing things and his style goes against your grain, then why hate him? Ignore it. Sometimes I think a lot of artists are just jealous of his success and don’t like what they perceive as how he achieved it. But all the acrimonious words in the world aren’t going to do anything to change it. Neither is referring to those who purchased it as less than educated.

    I’d rather spend my energy doing what I do, painting and creating.

  17. shenkwan says:

    ===Wow! TK, you have certainly roused a myriad of emotions, one wonders why. Wait!! Could it be the “Christian” slant? Surely, the method of art selling is not unique to TK. How do you spell Robert Bateman?

  18. RuthieLou says:

    Kinkade has a very large following; I am not a follower, however. This “sources of light” are too phony, The idyllic landscapes and cottages too sweet to be believable. they all have the same look, the same feeling, and the same saccharine story.

  19. koogz says:

    First, P.T. Barnum never said “There is a sucker born every minute.” That was attributed to him by David Hannum. It still applies.

    Secondly, TK was very talented, and that cannot be ignored.

    Third, I remember those commercials, and the religious “God Bless” tie in stinks to high heaven to me. I find it repulsive. I visited one of the galleries back in the day, and remember vividly the schtick used to sell us on the art painted with “light” and even as a young man I thought it was ridiculous. I feel sorry for the gallery owners that bought into it, then were undercut in pricing other places in the market.

    Finally, I know many artists which I consider greatly more talented yet unknown. It’s not bad he made a name by being financially successful, but rather the way he did it. Great artists should be lofted high like star athletes, doctors, because it takes years to find the art within oneself. It is necessary. It is beautiful. It represents life.

  20. dogsouls says:

    i do wish people luck i do love this guy how he marketed how he strives, look people this guy made personal or not personal work but how he managed his business is beautiful not only he found lots of money from doing art compared to many artist who are poor in making business decision , he was smart the real reason that i love this guys is his art and his choices we all know that the art market is horribly going down and your not getting anywhere with out copying others work why don’t we lie about our art and get rich and do real art in our past time i do plan to do real art in my past time but in business its a different story i want to lie but to the truth why should we sell our real art that’s real to us me i never want to sell a painting that shows my death grand mothers likeness id rather sell a piece that lies about what it is and that’s only about being rich and stuff the decision to do horrible commercial work and beautiful real art

  21. Ellen E says:

    I can’t say I like Kinkade’s style either (don’t know much about his marketing tricks), but the uncomfortable fact is, his paintings apparently capture a desire that a lot of Americans have already got for whatever it is in his scenes that speak to them. That’s what inspires feeling in a lot of people. I was just at an exhibition where I saw Eugene Carriere’s “Motherhood,” which uses the same gauzy dreamy colors as a Kinkade and totally sentimental subject matter, and probably inspires much of the same emotions, yet we see it as “fine art” probably because it wasn’t mass-produced.

    Maybe it’s the fact that Kinkade just kept cranking the stuff out that outrages us. We probably all get hung up on a favorite sentimental style but then, hopefully as artists, we move on to the next obsession…

  22. adamsgtorl says:


    Darrell Barker (name used with permission), on another forum where I shared the Thomas Kinkade news item from American Artist, shared with us this story:
    As a shuttle van driver, he once took a nice Arizona lady to the airport. At some point during their small talk, he asked her what she did for a living. She told him that she worked for Thomas Kinkade. Turns out Darrel actually owns several Kinkades, so he asked what it was that she did for Kinkade, and she said, “I’m one of his painters of light”. He learned that as the last part of the process, before they go into the Gallery, other painters enhance the “limited” reprints by painting bright “light” in the windows and sky before they go to be framed.

    Readers may also be interested in this link:
    which includes allegations of some very bizarre behavior.


  23. says:

    Well, Rockwell would be the first to say that he was an illustrator. Nothing wrong with that.

    This all gets into tricky territory, but I think much of it has to do with what claims are made about your work. Kincade tries to pass off 4 figure (or more $) reproductions as “original, one of a kind”, when they are only reproductions, not originals, with a DNA twist (fingerprints or some such thing in the finish). Nothing to do with artistic quality, but only a marketing gimmick.

    His business dealings with his franchised galleries are nothing short of scams, leaving many investors in difficult circumstances. To add insult to injury, all of this is in the guise of being a “Christian” painter… a self proclaimed “Painter of Light” (trademarked & copyrighted).

    In the end, it’s more to do with integrity than anything to do with his art. For some reason, I’m thinking that we really expect a lot more from artists than from anyone else.

  24. adamsgtorl says:

    I’m a non-artist who likes to putter by trying to draw and paint, so please don’t fuss at me too much about my ignorance, but…What is the consensus about Norman Rockwell? Does the legitimate art world consider him to be a serious artist, or would you put him in a similar category to Kinkade artistically (I’ve never heard about any accusations of fraud about Rockwell)?

  25. says:

    I won’t be very popular on this blog. I don’t condone his commercial practices in anyway, shape or form. His artwork is beautiful and inspiring. I think most on this website have a better than thou attitude of those who have not had formal training. I also think that if Kinkade had not integrated his Christian values into his artwork no one would have a problem with him. Remember art is in the eye of the beholder.

  26. PamellaJo says:

    I never liked Kinkade’s work, but that’s just a matter of taste. My taste can be a little off beat, so you can’t go by me anyway.
    I don’t find a problem with his selling prints, lots of artists sell prints. I have a problem with him because of the way he did it. He could have simply sold his prints as just that, prints. But he had to turn it into something underhanded. Hey, I sell pen & ink drawings on mugs, but people know they’re buying a mug with a copy of art on it. Let me give you something else to think about, that you may not want to think about. Now that he has some scandal under his belt, his stuff will probably sell for more. Maybe not right now, but years from now. Especially when the book comes out. lol

  27. MariaB35 says:

    Hi Allison;
    I agree with you whole heartedly. I hope that in the beginning his intentions were to inspire others with beauty and Christian values. But it morphed into a commercial enterprise that grew too big and completely took him over. It’s sad that worldly, material things can corrupt us so quickly. The very beauty and inspiration of Kincades art has been degraded by the unethical commercial uses and marketing techniques used.

    This is a great lesson for those who are painting only for profit and not for art’s sake.

  28. says:

    Hi all….just a note. The blog page lists me as the author of this post, and that’s not accurate. While I did put this post up on the site, Steve actually penned it, as he has all the other posts in this blog. He was out a Weekend With the Masters and unable to post himself, so I did it for him. I’m usually able to do that without my picture coming up, but I slipped up this time.
    OK…back to the discussion.

  29. says:

    Thanks for your honest reflection on your association with Thomas Kinkade. His real skills are clearly the ones he’s developed for marketing and self-promotion, though his zeal seems to have led him into a swamp of ethical confusion. Whether he’s made the most of his modest artistic skills or not is a matter of opinion, I suppose, but what a shame that his energy and drive couldn’t have been concentrated on work that reflected the integrity and depth of character he must possess but seems to have neglected so badly.

  30. Chip Warren says:

    The idea that if you have a print, you own a Kinkade that same as when you my a poster in Spencers gifts , you own a photograph of something. It could be a girl from Hooters or Spiderman. Now thats an investmant. All and all, we would all love to be where he is but without all the baggage.

  31. MikelW says:

    I often thought that art should speak for itself. When the artist speaks louder than the work, trouble is sure to follow. Good art does not need to be marketed on a mousepad or a toilet seat cover. If an artist needs to tell everyone how great they are, how important their work is, then the work is suspect in my opinion. Popularity does not make art great anymore than a collector paying 12 million for a cow immersed in formaldehyde makes it great. (high art indeed)

    To me, being accepted and admired by my peers and discerning collectors is my goal. Collecting my work because they love it for it’s uniqueness, to hang it on their walls to admire and not because buying it will get them bragging rights or their name in the paper. Personally, having my work hanging next to Corot, Sargent and Wood something I am proud of, something I never dared to dream of. Yet, I am still humbled by the huge shadow cast by their work and strive to achieve that level of talent.

    It is sad that Thomas Kinkade has squandered the talent he once had. It is drowned out by the glitz and kitsch of mass marketing, mass reproduction and self importance. The apex of his self aggrandizing is a toss up. Is it when he trademarked the term “Painter of Light”? Or is it when he used his “DNA pen” to sign work that was a giclee reproduction with “highlights” of paint applied by artisans in a factory? Or is it when his syrupy images were emblazoned across toaster cozies, coffee mugs, headboards and rugs?

    There are often extremes in the art world. It is the extremes that get the most attention..
    (the squeaky wheel gets the grease… reality check: it squeaks because it is faulty) There are legions of art critics that love to lump realism and representational art in with Thomas Kinkade. It is meant as an insult. It only reaffirms my suspicion that the vast majority of those art critics that run in the world of self-important “high art” are just as clueless as a person that buys a Thomas Kinkade bed spread as an art piece. When you need an explanation of why it is great art, trust me, it isn’t great art.

    It comes down to this. Which is real art to you?


    Or this?

  32. DanielH says:

    Just off the top of my head, I can think of at least a dozen contemporary painters, most of whom have been covered by American Artist, that are well known, well respected, and well funded by their art who have never delved into such dark caves of marketing as Kinkade has.

    Also, I think there needs to be a line drawn somewhere between what we’re considering fine art vs. decorative art. Kinkade’s art appeals to the general public because it doesn’t require you to think. It represents an idealized view of reality that none of us can really identify with. I can buy the idea that some people are inspired by it, but a lot of people are also inspired by the poster of the cat hanging on the rope that says “Hang In There”… Does that make it fine art?

    However I feel about his work personally, I have never considered myself to be his colleague or contemporary in any way. He has chosen a different path, and I think we will all do well to wish him the best, turn, and keep walking in our own direction. This world is big enough for all of us…

  33. ElayneKuehler says:

    I certainly don’t hate Kincade either. Honestly speaking, I have to ask myself if I were offered the opportunity that he was, I probably would have accepted. Afterall my ultimate dream is to be well known, but I must add, well respected as a great artist. His name is definitely known by many and I am sure also respected. But in the case of Kincade and a few other artists also, I must ask, are they masters of great art or are they great masters of marketing?

  34. Starrpoint says:

    Whether you like his vision, his paintings or not, you have to ask yourself, what role ethic plays for the modern artist.

    What always troubled me more than the sameness of his paintings (frankly, if I had to paint the same thing over and over and over, I’d go into real estate) was the passing off doctored prints as original.

    Not that he had a factory, that would be find if he was upfront about it, but that he (his business id) never was straight forward about just what was being sold.

    I don’t have a problem with high quality prints. just be up front about it.

  35. Allison Malafronte says:

    I am surprised that we are using terms such as “hate” to describe a fellow artist. You may not agree with his subject matter or the sentiments behind them, or you may just be jealous of a man whose original pieces of artwork turned into something more commercial and widespread, but the truth is his paintings inspire hundreds of people and help them to see beauty and light in everyday moments. If you’re going to hate or disparage an artist’s efforts, save your critical comments for those who are influencing culture with images that are crude, degrading, and debase.

  36. Gordon France says:

    Docpage, just ignore P.T. Barnums adage, “There’s a sucker born every minute”(Thank GOD!). Please continue buying junk and keep those dollars circulating, the economic recovery needs you.

  37. Alfred Currier says:

    I don’t “hate” Thomas Kincade but, I’m not a fan of his work either. For me, the artist, art is about the process of doing while me, the observer, it’s purely entertainment. I feel art should convey an emotion, negative or positive. If you really really like it, it works. If you really really hate it, it still works. If you walk by it with no transmitted emotion, maybe that’s the one that is lacking, at least for you. For the artist, you can lead the “artist life” and the “artist career”. Leading the artist career will sometimes end with compromise. The artist life, although a truer path, will probably less rewarding financially. If Kincades work sickens you, then it probably works, ugh.

  38. Jan Schafir says:

    I always tell my students that it would be successful artists if we could make a painting that satisfies our own artistic creativity, is accepted in a juried show and sells. Kidkade certainly figured out the “selling” component.

  39. docpage says:

    I LOVE Thomas Kinkade, and I have found that almost in every circumstance that artists hate him, it is because they are jealous (either consciously or unconsciously) of his success (notice I did not say of his ability to paint or create art-whatever that means). I do not understand, nor will I ever (Thank GOD!) this myth of there being nobility and honor in the struggling starving artist. The idea that great art = poverty is outdated, not true and never was true. Van Gogh would have given his EAR to be where T.K. is.

    • Judi B says:

      I do not believe in the starving artist mentality. I also do not wish to have paintings on my walls that remind me of (literal and spiritual) darkness, especially from an artist that is nicknamed “painter of light.” I’ve never understood how people can look at his work and see “light.” But artists are free to choose their strategy, knowing there will be a cost. I think for Kinkade, the cost was being pigeonholed into one style and subject matter. Something I choose not to do, and the cost for me might be that I don’t have his material success. Further, collectors make choices, too. They are free to buy what they want, and I’m free to have my own opinion about it, but that doesn’t mean I’m jealous. That’s your judgement on artists you’ve never even met.

  40. Esther J. Williams says:

    I remember seeing Thomas Kinkade selling his limited edition or open edition prints on QVC back in 1990. I thought back then he was a phony by saying “God Bless You” to every caller who said they owned his works and loved them. He uses the bible and Christianity to sell, he uses cheesy subjects to sell and he uses innocent people to tell lies to that his work will gain value. Yes, I can’t stand the guy. Go live out in the middle of a poverty stricken country for 2 years and deny all materialism T. Kinkade, then paint. Maybe then you will have a little more credibilty.

  41. veronica winters says:

    I’m ashamed to say that I liked his art when I saw it for the first time but I wasn’t an artist back then. Now, I dislike Kinkade’s art. I think with years of education and hard work I came to realize what it means to create art and what great artwork is supposed to have. I must admit that K. is great in finding a soft spot (or selling point) in people’s hearts. He paints something familiar to public. There is a rare occassion when I see a person who understands and appreciates art. Most people don’t. K. found the market for those people who neither get real art nor have the money to pay for it. So, he marketed his work to the middle class with limited financial abilities. He took the market by the quantity,not quality. I don’t think he is a competition to me and my work but I have the lesson to learn from his marketing skill!

  42. peterworsley says:

    Kinkade’s problem was promising a high resale value to customer’s who purchased his prints, knowing that there was no secondary market. People purchased his prints as an investment, but were not able to resell them. This promotion was a scam and he was taken to court and fined.

    As marketeers of art he and his team were very good. But they went too far by promising things they could not fulfill.

  43. sfox2 says:

    What’s really sad is that Kinkade has the chops to be a “real” painter. He studied at Art Center in Pasadena. I”ve seen a couple of non-cutsy originals and the guy can paint.

    I guess artists need to understand what their goals are as artists.

    A need for self-expression and the freedom to follow one’s passion with the hope that a market for one’s work will develop over time will lead down one path. Cue Robert Frost.

    Having a high income as a priority will probably require a different path, one that involves an approach more like producing a consistant “porduct”, than following the muse wherever she takes you. I have observed that many, if not most, of the artists who chose this route short-circuit their artistic development because they end up having to substitute quantity for quality and their choices of what to paint are severely limited by what their market will buy. Success in the mass market seems to “dumb down” a lot of art.

    Either way, an artist who hopes to make a living needs to have a plan that sets out goals and the means to those goals.

  44. j.b2 says:

    To me his painting were/are sickening sweet.

    A lot of friends (non-artist) would ask me what I thought of him & that was the answer I always gave..

    And to my surprise almost all of them agreed. A few could only think about the CASH he was raking in…

  45. says:

    Interesting that you see personally, one on one, what many of us “felt” from afar.

    Often that’s not the case, either we think a celebrity is terribly interesting or a complete nincompoop and those who know them personally tell a different story.

    The Christian element is what always upset me, especially when my step mom showed me a repro she bought off the t.v. and insisted it was an original that would increase in value….this Christian man said so!

    • Katherine V says:

      Some reproductions do increase over time. Was it signed? Salvador Dali is sometimes criticized for signing so many, but I bought one of his for just $50. It’s quite beautiful and it has increased in value.

  46. Keatingart says:

    I hate him too, but the dude figured out that the painting is a product, not an end all measure of an artist’s talent. Artists can stand to learn that the measure of an artist’s worth is not the individual painting but his lifelong journey pursuing the germinal idea of his individual vision. The paintings are by products of that pursuit that can be liquidated to fund the artist’s lifelong quest.

    • Rochelle L says:

      Kinkade didn’t deserve anyone’s hate. He just painted what he liked to paint.
      This hatred for him is really offensive – no artist should be “hated”.

      I do abstracts myself. Everyone should just do what they want and stop making “hating” another artist a popular thing to do.

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