I don’t think anybody here fits this description

If you’re a fan of kitsch and Christianity, don’t read
this article. You’ll think it starts out OK…

Thomas Kinkade is famous for his luminous landscapes and street scenes, those dreamy, deliberately inspirational images he says have brought “God’s light” into people’s lives, even as they have made him one of America’s most collected artists.

A devout Christian who calls himself the “Painter of Light,” Kinkade trades heavily on his beliefs and says God has guided his brush—and his life—for the last 20 years.

…but then you’ll get stories of corruption, drunkenness, lewdness and groping, and most horrifying of all, peeing on Winnie the Pooh!


  1. says

    Urinating on Winnie the Pooh disgusted me. This passage just puzzled me:

    In a deposition, the artist alluded to his practice of urinating outdoors, saying he “grew up in the country” where it was common. When pressed about allegedly relieving himself in a hotel elevator in Las Vegas, Kinkade said it might have happened.

    “There may have been some ritual territory marking going on, but I don’t recall it,” he said.

    So he’s not denying that he may have ‘marked his territory’ in an elevator?

    But I was infuriated when I read this:

    “But you’ve got to remember,” he said, “I’m the idol to these women who are there. They sell my work every day, you know. They’re enamored with any attention I would give them. I don’t know what kind of flirting they were trying to do with me. I don’t recall what was going on that night.”

    It’s the woman’s fault he fondled her breasts. Piece of [expletive deleted].

  2. says

    That was the bit that killed me. Anybody who pees on Winnie the Pooh is a bastard. There’s no appealling that one.

    Of course, like many other artists not making millions, I despise Thomas Kinkade. But it’s nice to have two reasons.

  3. QrazyQat says

    People who go around making sure others know they’re Christians are always pissing on something — it’s what they do.

  4. says

    I’m not entirely sure his behaviour could ever be more foul than his paintings, but peeing on winnie the pooh seems pretty harsh.

    Incidentally, I just wanted to mention how much i enjoyed the latest output of the BBC’s natural history unit which just finished airing, truely stunning ! Definitely worth a download if anyone finds a torrent.

  5. bmurray says

    I applaud him for being skeptical of Siegfried and/or Roy’s manly equipment and shouting “Codpiece!” at them. We have to take a stand for truth, even if it means getting stinking drunk to do it.

  6. says

    For a while there were several “Thomas Kinkade Galleries” scattered about California, Kinkade’s home state. I don’t know how far the infection spread into other states, but the fever has abated somewhat and there have been closures. Kinkade’s fairly successful business plan called for milking devout Christians for every dollar possible, including making them into “art collectors” (of Kinkade, of course, complete with a collector’s club you could join) and, I think, “business opportunities” to invest in the Kinkade company (not a particularly great opportunity, by the way). His target demographic really thinks Kinkade is a great artist and wouldn’t recognize kitsch if you shoved it in their face, which Kinkade has proved over and over again. Original Kinkades are hyper-expensive, but mass-produced prints are more affordable (if still over-priced). For the really gullible “art” appreciators, you can get a Kinkade print on which an associate has daubed some oil paint highlights. Those cost a lot more than a basic print, but it’s such a deal! Feh.

  7. Frumious B. says

    I might pee on Disney’s version of Winnie the Pooh, too. It doesn’t have even a fraction of the charm that E. H. Shepard’s illustrations do.

  8. says

    MrsDoF and I went down to Arthur, Illinois for a tourist day in a charming Amish community, and found a Kinkade gallery there, run by an Amish woman. What could be more surreal than a slick, high-tech art gallery full of ludicrously overpriced fake paintings, run by a woman in plain dress? When we got back out to the car, we just burst out laughing.

  9. says

    I known of many people who loves Winnie the Pooh. Gary used to have a girlfriend who totally adores Winnie the Pooh and she will be so offended and upset if she ever found out what Kinkade has done to the figure.

  10. says

    Never fails, the more self-righteous and pious they claim to be, the more corrupt and hypocritical they turn out to be. Actually, not really surprised by this, though Winnie the Pooh? What did Pooh Bear do to him?

  11. says

    Funny…as a kid in catechism we used to sing “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love”; now apparently, it’s “They Will Know We Are Christians By How Many Zeros Follow The One In Our Net Worth”…no wonder I left Christianity, with guys like Kinkade as the icons.

  12. says

    “It’s mainstream art, not art you have to look at to try to understand, or have an art degree to know whether it’s good or not,” said Mike Koligman, a longtime fan who with his wife owns Kinkade galleries in San Diego and Utah.

    Yeah, Thomas Kinkade, The Painter of Shite. Never met the fellow, but in the art business he’s been famous as a really rotten guy for many years. I’ve looked hard at his art, don’t have an art degree, and I don’t understand it at all.

  13. says

    I’ve looked hard at his art, don’t have an art degree, and I don’t understand it at all.

    It’s all about arson. Every house he has painted looks as if it has been set on fire from the inside.

    Kinkade: “Painter of Light-er fluid”

  14. says

    I got down to the end of page one where one of his dealers compares him to da Vinci and Monet and clicked away. That’s some serious self-delusion she’s got going there.

  15. says

    A Christian painter’s brush and life were both
    directed by the Lord to light and fame
    (and market savvy spiritual growth
    with Bible quotes and catchy trademarked name)…

    Painter of Lite

  16. says

    Those dreadful pieces of crap they sell as art make me shudder. And it makes me angry that real artists can’t get recognized while stupid people eat this garbage up.

  17. SkookumPlanet says

    The story in the LATimes and some of the comments here don’t make clear what it was/is Kincaide is selling. It’s even more stupid than it seems.

    His operation is based out of Morgan Hill here in the bay area and the SF Chronicle’s business section has periodically updated Kincaide’s collapse. Some of the following is from my memory of those articles.

    His paintings are cliched landscapes with one or more buildings in them usually, sometimes with people, and garden scenes. They are all vaguely referential to the late 1800s and some sort of idealized, small town America, quite similar to how the far right is enamored of McKinley [and trying to haul the U.S. back there]. The galleries under discussion, at least most of them, are franchises. I’ve been in a couple, before the apparent collapse, and both were staffed by sales clerks, not owners. While I don’t remember paper-based reproductions, the galleries were/are full of what looks to be original oil/acrylic paintings on canvas, and they are priced equivalently, starting between $5-10,000 running up into the $30,000s and higher, if memory serves me well.

    I paint, and could see the difference, but I question how many people buy these assuming they are original. They are on canvas, they have a surface relief similar to brushed viscous paint but they are produced on a special, rather large machine in Kincaide’s factory. That’s right, factory. Then he has, I forget what euphemism is used, like “apprentice artists”, in a very prescribed pattern, add a few score highlights, all usually very small. These highlights, remarkable only in that they are ultra-obvious, were turned into marketing that portrays him as singular in capturing light. I doubt that anyone overtly sold these as originals, but if one understands art marketing the entire setup, from subject matter to presentation to business structure, is designed to sell fake originals to boobs.

    All across the country get-rich-quick-through-sales types scarfed up franchises. Few had any involvement in any way with art before hand. There was always speculation about the size of the market for highly overpriced, fake original, banal paintings and its collapse isn’t a surprise to those watching from outside. The timing was the only open question.

    While Kincaide’s real originals, from which these reproductions are made, will probably retain value, if only because of this history, the canvas reproductions, of which there must be tens of thousands in the public hands, will eventually be of second-hand store value.

    Morley Safer did a piece about Kincaide a couple years ago on “60 Minutes”, pre-collapse. He barely mentioned the fake-original prices, but otherwise went into the factory etc. He focused on one Midwest couple that had lined their entire house with, I believe, over 100 of these things, at these prices. It was implied, or they said, this was how they were investing their resources! It was art that they understood without someone having to explain it to them, they said.

    The syndication of images into numerous kitsch items seems to have accelerated right when the franchise system started to collapse, but the move was likely planned in advance. There is, somewhere on the edge of the Bay Area in the direction of Sacramento, I swear to God, a Thomas Kincaide subdivision full of faux victorianesque, brand new houses in front of typical grass covered California coastal hills. The only trees present were residents in nurseries a year earlier. Here in the Bay Area these must start at half-a-million. I’ve seen news video and it’s an incredibly incongruous image.

    The gallery owners are co-conspirators in this sordid story. But I’ll leave you to contemplate, not the gullibility, but the willful ignorance [backed by defensiveness] of the otherwise “common sense” middle American collectors. They’ve been sold an expensive bill of goods in a manner that they feel proud about. Quite a clever bit of psychomarketing. Same thing is being done with them in electoral politics.

  18. DavidSewell says

    Here are some American painters of light who do not make a mockery of the phrase.

    (FWIW, the gallery owners who just won arbitration had their shop on the downtown mall here in Charlottesville. I used to pass it now and then but can’t remember every seeing anyone inside it–sort of like a Scientology center or Christian Science Reading Room that way…)

  19. Graculus says

    Well, didn’t I have to go Google up some pics of Kinkade’s “art”.

    Zee goggles, zey do nothing!

  20. Pattanowski says

    Once again people have been blinded by the “light”.

    I was able to convince the owner of our local flower-shop to stop selling Kinkaid merchandise by printing out some information like that revealed above. I know the guy was making good money on it too.

    Many artists teeter on the edge of civility but this guy is just phoney and disgusting. I’d rather eat a dozen “Precious Moments” figurines than hang a Kinkaid on the wall. (maybe hang Kinkaid from a light fixture)

    Suppose any nice old houses in the woods have those items on the walls?

    Once I went traveling for some months and the renters I had stay at the place dismantled my nice plant/rocks/antiques set-up and put down a polystyrine floor mat depicting a scene very similar to the one they had destroyed. Reality must be more frightening for some than I can ever imagine.

  21. Pattanowski says

    Oh yeah! Some time ago AIG sent me a donation-request pamplet (why, of course I’m on their mailing list!) (actually, not any more) and it had the option of buying Kinkaid prints with a good portion of the money going to the museum. I couldn’t find them on the museum’s site just now, but there is a very Kinkaid-ish looking Noah’s Ark painting depicting all the animals disembarking onto a lush Kinkaidian landscape. Maybe Noah sacrificed all the clean animals for the sake of mercy!

  22. says

    For a while there were several “Thomas Kinkade Galleries” scattered about California, Kinkade’s home state. I don’t know how far the infection spread into other states, but the fever has abated somewhat and there have been closures.

    Where I grew up in Central Jersey, one could find Kinkade stores in most of the Malls. I’m not sure how many are left at this point.

  23. Harrison says

    I’m no expert, but comparing Kinkade to Da Vinci and Monet is, IMHO, laughable at best, pathetic at worst…

  24. says

    Harrison: pathetic if you’re feeling nice…it should be a capital offense. maybe with some Cheney-brand Home Style Torture thrown in.

  25. Welby says

    I knew someone who worked for Kinkade when it was still in San Jose and got a tour of the operation. The canvas prints were printed by machine and then touched-up by Mexican laborers. They had a whole warehouse full of these things, and my friend said that if someone accidentally speared a pallet of the prints with a forklift it was no big deal. They cost almost nothing to produce. And yes, the description of Kinkade in the article is accurate – she described him as crazy drunk too.

  26. alex says

    I was never fond of the Kinkade stuff, but I was willing to let other people indulge their tastes. Then I happened to spot, on one of his calendars, a charming little town-in-the-snow Christmas scene….with decidious trees in the background in full leaf.

    Idiot. Did he just figure that his customers wouldn’t notice, or that they wouldn’t care?

  27. lt.kizhe says

    Having perused first the “Luminism” URL, and then Kinkade’s site, the term that comes to mind is “highly derivative”. Not that I know squat about art — I have a hell of a time even figuring out what I would like on the wall, and I have no idea what makes a painting “good” or “bad”. Hell, our National Gallery once paid several mill for a large red stripe on a blue background, which shows you what I know.

  28. says

    Kinkade’s art is not meant to be understood; it’s meant to match the upholstery.

    Of course, my job is to kill off boatloads of adorable cartoon animals in horrible, horrible ways, so perhaps I’m not one to talk. ;)

  29. Pastor Maker says

    Y’all ain’t nuthin but a bunch of stuck-up book-learned atheists. I bet y’all think paint don’t stick to velvet either.

  30. Graculus says

    Hell, our National Gallery once paid several mill for a large red stripe on a blue background, which shows you what I know.

    They didn’t buy it because they liked it, either.

    If the function of the National Gallery was to display art that everyone liked then it would be full of Robert Batemans (blecchh) and Elizabeth Doolittles. It’s function is to educate.

    They bought the painting (Voice of Fire) because the painter was important in that particular style, they didn’t have any of his work, and it was priced under it’s evaluation.