Artist, Thomas Kinkade, the self-proclaimed, Painter of Light, has died of natural causes in his Los Gatos, California, USA home on Friday. The full cause of his death has not been released to the public. He was 54 years of age.
Sadly, many will miss Kinkade producing new works of art for the world to enjoy. Though many critics have deemed Kinkade’s work “of no worth”, there are tens of millions of people who have prints of his works, hanging in their livingroom who will say differently.
It’s hard to fathom how Kinkade’s work can be considered as worthless. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d have to say that it’s because it was commercialized. Some critics have called it “formulaic” with a central theme that occurs over and over again in each of his paintings. He produced some 1,000 paintings over his lifetime which included the topics of cabins, nature scenes, seascapes and classic Americana.
If Kinkade’s works were considered worthless because they had a theme or style that was fairly distinctly Kinade-ish, then what can be said about authors whose works are also formulaic such as Deepak Chopra, Sylvia Browne, Agatha Christie, Harlequin writers, J.K. Rowling and so many more? What about musicians whose work are all containing similar themes and sound similar from album to album? What about the famous Group of Seven artists? The list of those involved in a form of art can go on and on as many of them have become formulaic in their work.
For most, artists are supposed to be “starving” and not famous until their deaths or, they’re not considered, “real artists”. Struggle seems to be the mark of a great works of art, living on bread and coffee, squalored small studio lofts with cots as beds amongst the brushes and turpentine. Kinkade turned his work into a multi-million dollar empire, complete with galleries to house his works and books containing photos of them. He knew how to market his work and himself. Does that make him a fake? Did he not produce this art with brushes and paints on his own? However, it seems that the critics have deemed him akin to the Starfrit gadgets that you see on infomercials rather than an artist.
There’s a whimisical feel to all of Kinkade’s work. It brings the viewer into a scene that one only wishes that they could live in. His ability to bring light into his scenes makes them warm and inviting, making us want to be there, amongst the flowers and even trudging through the snow. There’s a portrayal of family, love, peace and kindness that the world can only hope and dream of and sometimes, if we’re lucky, get glimpses of. They are akin to being part of a dream world where there is only love and warmth. Who wouldn’t want to be in one of them, living amongst the beauty that they emit?
Though some have come forward to say that he was not an angel of a man, reportedly, often drinking and bitter, sitting in strip clubs, it isn’t his life that was to be judged. It takes away nothing from his works of art. Many of the Greats in the worlds of music, writing and art were mentally disturbed, alcoholics, womanizers and miserable humanbeings. Yet, their works have been heralded by most. Ernest Hemmingway, Elvis Presely, Jimmi Hendrix, Edgar Allan Poe, Whitney Houston, Spencer Tracey, Joan Crawford, Vincent Van Gogh, Ludwig van Beethoven and the list could go on for several hundred more to be added. Suffice it to say that it wasn’t Kinkade’s life but, rather his wealth from his art that critics have leapt upon with wrath.
I, for one, will go on enjoying Kinkade’s works of art. They have a quality to them that takes me far away from the maddening crowd and this world that can sometimes, feel like a cold, hard world and oftentimes, begging for escape.
Instead of a bottle of vodka or a prescription for tranquilizers, I can lose myself in a painting that evokes something emotionally wonderful within me. Kinkade’s works do that for me and while I don’t currently own any prints of his works, I am thinking that I will now go and search his website for prints to order and have framed. Though I am following suit in buying a dead artist’s works now that he’s gone, I deem his works as worthy of a place in my home. That is what makes art, worthy…not what the critics have to say.
May you rest in peace, Mr. Kinkade and may “heaven” be even more beautiful than what you’ve painted for us. We have tiny pieces of a “heaven” by gazing at your works.