08 December, 2006

I Do Not Understand

Thomas Kinkade.

I see the initial appeal in a lot of his work. I've long been a believer that if you were only to see one Kinkade work in your lifetime, you'd think it was beautiful. It might even become your favourite painting.

But this complete and utter saturation of the KinkadeĀ® "brand" into the mainstream has taken all of the calming charm out of his art and turned it into shoddy visual noise.

I really don't understand the impulse that would drive an artist to bastardise his "children" that way.


At 1:59 PM, December 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you. i have never figured out the mass appeal. And it's ruined one of my favorite sights, houses at dusk when the interior lights are just noticeable. Especially in winter when the lights also transmit the idea of warmth and the smell of dinner cooking.


At 2:24 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

Doesn't do much for me - but I have no "eye" for art on canvas. I took the classes and all, but I am visually tone-deaf. I wouldn't know good (or bad) painted art if I saw it. My art sense is hearing. I can tell you why a piece of music is good or bad, or for that matter oratory or poetry.

But, as usual, I digress. Some of his paintings are "pretty", but IMHO nowhere near what they ask you to pay for them.

At 2:33 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger dolphin said...

I really don't understand the impulse that would drive an artist to bastardise his "children" that way.

You're operating on the assumption that Thomas Kinkade is an artist. As far as I'm concerned Thomas Kinkade is simply a painter. Now I don't want to get into a philosophical debate on the definition of "art," but in my book formulaic "pretty" pictures don't fit the bill. Same with Bob Ross and his "happy little trees." Both painters are skillful in what they do, but I wouldn't call the creation of decorative fluff, art.

At 2:59 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

I hate the whole Thomas Kinkade thing. Barf. Barf. Barf.

At 3:11 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Lesley said...

Because he is a Faith BasedĀ® painter. Slap a Jesus fish on anything and a market is created consisting of people who want to only support Christians with their money. This is also why I hate "Christian Contemporary" music. The "biggest band in the world," U2 is a Christian band and has many songs about their faith, but they don't market themselves as such just to make a buck.

Thank you, this has been Lesley's Rant of the Day. Drive through.

At 3:17 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Les Jones said...

Kincade is apparently a foul-mouthed drunk who pisses anywhere he pleases, including in elevators. This LA Times link no longer works, but here's an excerpt I ran:

"This one's for you, Walt," the artist quipped late one night as he urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure, said Terry Sheppard, a former vice president for Kinkade's company, in an interview.

Of another incident Kincade said in a deposition, "There may have been some ritual territory marking going on, but I don't recall it." Ritual territory marking. That's certainly an artistic way of describing a drunken piss in an elevator.

At 3:20 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Rob Robinson said...

Lesley, I totally agree. Great point about U2.

Others have already said it better, but I don't care for Kincaid either. It's overkill to me, but those folks in Gatlinburg sure dig it. ;)

At 3:31 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger John H said...

Thomas Kinkade is NOT an artist. He is an illustrator. Nothing wrong with illustrations, but they are not always art. He is kitsch, personified.

At 3:46 PM, December 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you and find Kinkade bile-inducing.

That said, have you seen this? Amazing (and rather sad). Definitely click on the links - Kinkade's earlier, pre-marketing effort work is actually quite nice in some cases. It actually has merit, believe it or not. I couldn't believe it was the same guy. From art to schlock. How very evangelical Christian of him.

At 4:43 PM, December 08, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

Wellll, I'm not sure religion or appeals to religion or anything like that can explain it. A lot of the people who like Kinkade also like those Keane pictures with the huge-eyed kids, or like sad-clown paintings. And so far as I know there's no religious element in the conception or marketing of any of those. Nope, I have to come down on the side of good ald-fashioned bad taste here, pure and simple. (Or if it seems impure and not very simple, read Nabokov on poshlust/kitsch.)

At 6:21 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Chance said...

"U2 is a Christian band and has many songs about their faith, but they don't market themselves as such just to make a buck."

That may or may not be true. Bands that label themselves "Christian" (whether it is best to do that from a ministry standpoint or not is another question), already start behind in the sales race. I mean, it is a huge deal if any Christian album makes gold or especially platinum. Some of the most popular Christian albums rarely reach multi-platinum status.

At the same time though, Christian music is a niche market, so one could argue that some take the guaranteed smaller market over the more volatile larger market. So, some artists may target the Christian audience for a buck, but at the same time I would say that groups that start out as Christian then move into the mainstream are the ones really making the big bucks.

It does seem that secular artists who happen to be Christian typically dominate the Christian artists in quality, for reasons I have long searched. U2 is indeed a shining example.

At 6:33 PM, December 08, 2006, Blogger newscoma said...

A woman I work with has a coffee mug with his moniker on it that when you pour in the coffe, the lights in the windows lights up.
I really, really, really don't dig him and I was going to bring up what Les brought up but he beat me to it.

At 7:35 AM, December 10, 2006, Anonymous Kate O' said...

Heh. Karsten used to work for the Kincade "factory" in the South SF Bay Area years ago. He hated it, and still detests that man. He's been a great source of ridicule in our lives.


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