Bakshi in <em>NY Mag</em> Bakshi in <em>NY Mag</em>

Bakshi in NY Mag

A short but fun interview with Ralph Bakshi appeared in last week’s New York magazine. I particularly enjoyed this exchange between the interviewer and Bakshi:

You mentored Ren and Stimpy’s John Kricfalusi. But we can never forgive you for giving Thomas Kinkade his big break.
That son of a bitch! Kinkade was the coolest. If Kinkade wasn’t a painter, he’d be one of those cult leaders. Kinkade came into my office with James Gurney when I was looking for background artists [for Fire and Ice]. He’s a good painter, and he did a spiel. He made all these deals. How he went out and did what he did is beyond my understanding now. He’s very, very talented, and he’s very, very much of a hustler. Those two things are in conflict. Is he talented? Oh yeah. Will he paint anything to make money? Oh yeah. Does he have any sort of moralistic view? No. He doesn’t care about anything. He’s as cheesy as they come.

  • That’s the funniest account of Kinkade I’ve ever read. It almost makes me like him. Almost. Thanks for sharing this article!

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Ralph… could you.

  • And THEY come CHEESY!

  • We would all want the success of Kinkade and I wish him no ill and continued success. And while his paintings are not my cup o’ tea….(I mean if you dig paintings of cabins that look like there is a 4 alarm blaze going on in the window…) I was not impressed by the man and his fans as I saw in one of those American network newsmagazine programs. His fans seem to attribute some spiritual quality to his paintings, like some superstitious talisman or fetish.

    I remember on the program there was a Q& A at some gallery exhibition or signing. Some woman asked him if he prays over each individual painting he does. Yes, he answered. Oh really? Get real. And what if he did pray over each painting, are the paintings then endowed with some mystical power? Anyway I just felt like the answer was too easy and he was saying anything to sell his paintings. Later on in that same program he was critical of….Picasso!

    Anyway I, without knowing the man personally, had the same impression of him from viewing that show as Bakshi was quoted.
    Bakshi’s work is neither my cup of tea but he is real and sincere and doesn’t pander and states what he really thinks. Bakshi is a truer artist imo.

  • Gabriel Dell

    The Mazda corporation used to have each of its vehicles blessed by Japanese priests as they rolled off the assembly line, resulting in a product at least as holy as Kinkade’s.

  • Awesome interview. I love Bakshi’s frankness and honesty.

  • Chuck R.

    Let me get this straight. You can be sure an artist is “real and straight” because he backstabs every person he’s worked with and uses the “f” word 12 times in an average interview? And an artist is fake because he prays about his work? Gerard, in the real world there are lots of folks who pray before every meal, and it’s not because they think God will turn their chalupas into fois gras.

    Bakshi is admitting he’s watered down his vision on numerous occasions. What’s the point of integrity if all the “honesty” comes out in an interview decades after the fact, while on the screen is a celluloid tribute to artistic compromises and corner-cutting?

  • Steve G

    That sounds like the Kinkade I knew as well.

    And Chuck R, you have no clue what you’re talking about.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Kinkade’s artwork is cheesy and overly sentimental. His artwork is only fitting for greeting cards.

  • Chuck R.,
    I just felt that answer given was incredulous and too easy; too pat. I would have found the answer “sometimes” more believable. And again, so what was the point? I wonder what the importance of it was for the questioner? No, an artist is not fake if they actually pray about their work….I just felt the answer was too perfect…perhaps what the woman/buyer wanted to hear. Yes, I can be wrong; it’s an impression made from a TV program.

    Bakshi is not an artist because he is irreverent. Having to cut corners doesn’t disqualify him from being an artist either. I have found at my age a good artist doesn’t always create what I would like see (or say what I would like to hear) but create their vision. That vision may provoke, challenge and even insult but I know where that artist stands. Both men I admire their business savvy but that T.K. piece just felt like marketing a formula to a demographic.

    P.S.- I believe in prayer and have no problem with people who do.

  • Kinkade is a millionaire many times over because millions of Christians with empty wallspace have bought his religious-themed paintings/lithographs/etc. Of COURSE he tells people he prays over every painting. He tells them whatever they want to hear, as long as they keep buying.

    Never knew of the Bakshi/Kinkade connection. I wonder which backgrounds he did.

  • Luke

    Fire and Ice, alongside Dinotopia’s James Gurney. Weird little collaboration there.

  • The only Bakshi film I cared about was Wizards… What does that make me? Kinkaid has a Huge following. Can’t argue with success. I’d like a slice of that pie someday.

  • Chuck R.

    Gerard, thanks for you second comment. I agree with you on a lot of points.
    I looked at Kinkade’s own website (I’m not a fan) and thought it was interesting that it mentions Bakshi but not James Gurney. He makes no bones about his being a Christian and doing charity work, so I guess that alone might make him appeal to religious people, whom I’d expect would be naturally curious about how his work and belief system are interrelated. I wish I could see the footage you saw. It sounds like he was trying to field a very personal question from a fan and he wanted to answer it quickly and honestly and get on to other subjects.

    Steve G: Obviously I don’t eat much foie gras or I would have spelled it correctly. If you have some expertise about Kinkade’s art to share in this forum, I’m all ears.

  • Zombie Kosherama IV

    There’s at least one Kinkade background from “Fire and Ice” in the new “Bakshi Unfiltered” book. It’s rubber stamped with Kinkade’s name and is a competent painting that fits in with the film, which is what it was supposed to do. As far as ethics go, it’s a pity Kinkade screwed all those ‘exclusive’ Thomas Kinkade gallery owners when he threw in with former ABC TV exec Tony Thomopolus and started mass dicounting his stuff everywhere, driving many of his gallery owning Christian bretheren into bankruptcy. Kinkade succeeds as a two-fisted, corrupt American businessman, not an artist.