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Thomas Kinkade, RIP

The self-proclaimed painter of light, Thomas Kinkade, died unexpectedly on Friday at the age of 54. Before becoming a fine artist, Kinkade had worked on Ralph Bakshi’s Fire and Ice. In recent years, Kinkade had been making Disney-themed paintings, or as he called them, “narrative panoramas”.

  • Mat

    “This one’s for you Walt.”

  • Doug Holverson

    “Now he’s brightening up Heaven with his painting with light”….

  • Oliver

    If Kinkade gets a fancy obit, every hack painter ever responsible for a Bradford Exchange or Franklin Mint decorative plate should get one too.

  • Well, now ain’t that a shame.

  • Mac

    Seems like everyone had contempt for him while he was alive.

  • Mr. Kinkade’s passing will in no way affect the production of new work bearing his signature

    • xevo

      Yeah, look what happened to V.C. Andrews.

  • J.M. Walter

    May he rest in Light

  • B.Richards

    Always a sadness at losing someone too soon. His art brought kitsch to the Heartlands and his Disney series did not improve or make better the beautiful archival works he worked from. Like the recent Maya animation work using a past masterpiece to draw from, Kinkade “mulched” the early Disney artist works into something not recognizable as original but as greeting card contemporary illustration. The modeling of the fawn next to Snow White being just one example. His marketing was excellent, his work will never be in museum collections or retain their investment by his collectors.

    • akira

      so you’re sad that this hack died and anybody who paid for his stuff is a sucker? and an artist is only worthwhile if they get something into a museum collection?

      wow, i hope you’ll get the job of writing anybody animator’s obituary

      • B.Richards

        akira: Whoa, I never said “hack” this is your term. I used creator of “kitsch” which means “calculated to have a popular appeal”. This was his stated aim and he was successful at it. You may have different reasons than I do to elevate someone in death over what they were in life. George de la Tour, Caravaggio, Fredric Church and the Impressionists were “painters of light”. Kinkade was self proclaimed. His legacy will remain as what it was as it will for all artists. Most collectors stated they were buying Kinkade art as an “investment” and collected it in bulk for that reason. Mine was not an obituary just a repeat of his lifetime reviews and a reaction to the post. Sorry to given you offense. Yes, in time history, museums and archives determine an artist’s contribution to the course of art. The Disney archives will remain as a point of study, a high point in the creation of animation art, in concept and creativity. I believe Kinkade is a footnote who used Disney art only to promote himself during his lifetime.

  • Toonio

    Seems like Walt is making an animated feature and required Tom’s services.

    He is in a better place indeed.

  • Robert Fiore

    Hardly unexpectedly.

  • Andecimo

    The world has lost a true artist; now he belongs to the ages. Rest in peace, Mr. Kinkade, you will be missed.

  • akira

    i totally didn’t expect that he would die

  • chris b

    Paint the light,Thomas paint the light!

  • J.Shamblin

    Whether you loved or hated Mr. Kinkade, shouldn’t we show some respect? If not for him, then for his friends and family who are mourning their loss. I doubt anyone hear would enjoy reading negative or hateful comments about someone they cared about, especially so soon after their passing.

    • B.Richards

      J. Shamblin, Sorry, you are right on this. It was too spontaneous a reaction on my brains part. My sincere apologizes to the Kinkade family and friends. And to take from this would be really great if everyone making a comment from here forward would keep your thought: “I doubt anyone here would enjoy reading negative or hateful comments about someone they cared about…” and apply it to the Living, daily people who post their opinions here. Sometimes it is quite hurtful to someone. A mild [email protected] Scarabum has no problem with “I’d rather see a picture depicting a nice sunset than the squiggles, blots and childish scrawls some art critics think are more respectable. Kinkade’s stuff may not have been edgy, but at least it didn’t involve signed urinals or crucifixes submerged in jars full of urine. :P ” So negative comments for Duchamp ( dead) and Andre Serrano ( living) are okay?. Duchamp to a great degree and andre Seranno to a lesser one have helped shape ideas and aspects of art. We all need to be more humble.

    • Jennifer

      I can’t believe the animals on this blog. The guy made a great living doing what he wanted to do. If it wasn’t for everyone, so be it. Those who feel he deserved to die so young because of his work should post their own artwork and let others decide THEIR fate.
      I didn’t care for his work either but so what. He did what he did and who am I to say that he couldn’t.
      To flippantly & coldly suggest “good ridance” is a sad comment on where we are going as a society.

  • V

    Not even his death will make his paintings hold any value. He was to art what Nicholas Sparks is to literature.

  • Tony McCarson

    I hope he meets Walt Disney & Ken Anderson in heaven.

  • Scarabim

    Let me put it this way: I’m happier that Thomas Kinkade was a success than I am that Seth McFarlane is a success. Both were/are panderers to the lowest common denominator of their respective genres. However, Kinkade’s fuzzy-wuzzy cottages are much more palatable to me than is McFarlane’s penchant for using slander as humor, and profanity as wit.

    Bottom line, Kinkade’s art was of the feel-good variety, some of it in the best sense of the term, and God knows there are forms of “legitimate”, critic-respected art that I wouldn’t want to hang on my wall or have anywhere in my house. I’d rather see a picture depicting a nice sunset than the squiggles, blots and childish scrawls some art critics think are more respectable. Kinkade’s stuff may not have been edgy, but at least it didn’t involve signed urinals or crucifixes submerged in jars full of urine. :P

    Anyhoo, RIP Thomas Kinkade.

  • I’d never say I was fan of his work, but I see no reason to hate the guy or his work. He’ll always get points in my book for working on Fire & Ice!

    He was a successful artist (made a good living creating what he liked)- good for him! I wish I was one :p

    • V

      He also made a living scamming people. What a great man!!!

      • Justin Weber

        How did he scam people?

      • The Unknown Cartoonist

        Mostly it’s from the lawsuits regarding the owners of his many galleries. His Wikipedia article has the details, and while it sounds like some shady practices were afoot, I don’t think any can be tied directly to Kinkade.

  • Bruce Richards

    Please refer to the recent past, in when living,September 28, 2010 on Cartoon Brew.

  • Mike Johnson

    Though I do not own any of his works, I am always happy to take them in whenever I happen to come across them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course, and no one artist will ever appeal to every human being, especially other artists. Still, even though he may have been arrogant or a hack or whatever other unsavory descriptions are being bandied about in the wake of his passing, he was successful for a reason…more people loved his paintings than didn’t, and that is all that mattered. So his paintings will never see a museum wall…big deal! That was never his intention, so saying so is truly pointless and says far more about the person saying it than it says about Thomas Kinkade. That goes for all of the negative comments.

    I don’t really care much how he behaved as a person. I just appreciate what he accomplished. I mean, I’m not going to stop listening to “Proud Mary” just because Ike Turner beat Tina every chance he got. I’m not going to throw away all of my CD’s because most of the bands engaged in drug use or whatever. I just love the music.

    I’ll bet most if not all of you have skeletons in your closets that you wouldn’t want the public to know about. I certainly do. Who cares? As an animation fan, I just want to see what you folks do…I couldn’t care less about how you live your lives or do your business. Just entertain me and I’ll be your friend. That’s all I ask.

    Sorry to vent, but I can only stand so much vitriol before I start barking back.

    “An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.”
    —Charles Horton Cooley

    • Anonymous Mouse

      It’s not that Kincaide had skeletons in his closet -his mansion was built from bones.

  • cst

    I’m not really familiar enough with his work to analyse it, and it would be disrespectful at this time to slag it offhandedly. But I always admired the way he (and James Gurney) gracefully pulled off the trick of painting detailed backgrounds in the style of Frank Frazetta- an artist who conciously avoided detailed backgrounds in his paintings. Bit of a trick, that!

  • Bearer of Truth

    No one will paint light anymore. The art world will be shrouded in darkness.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I heard he’s going to be buried on a grassy hill overlooking a stream and a mill.

  • As for having respect for the dead, not everyone deserves it. Still, in my opinion, Mr. Kinkade was merely a purveyor of pap. Mostly harmless.

    In contrast, I may go out in the streets and dance when Dick Cheney finally kicks it.

    • njoj

      Your statement about for respect for the dead is uncharitable to say the least. It is never right, under any circumstances, to defile the departed in thought, word or deed.

      Mr. Kinkade’s family and the integrity of this forum deserve better.

  • Paint fast, die young.

  • So sad to hear about his passing. But we’ll see him again in heaven. Such a nice man.

  • The heck is with you people, didn’t your parents tell you to respect the dead? Next thing you know his corpse will revive and trigger a light-filled zombie apocalypse.

    I will say this about Mr. Kinkade, he took the mass-market approach to art in way that few would ever consider. Either way you look at it, that took guts.

  • Mike

    After all, what would a Thomas Kinkade funeral be without abundant flowers and color everywhere. I suppose at the wake, he will be backlit to really bring out the light.

    He was talented and gave some people what they wanted, I will give him that much.

  • Robert Schaad

    Sorry that he passed away, but this is like the MacDonald’s of art. The original Snow White material that he “researched” is much, much better.

    Hidden Mickeys, indeed. Plus, he was speaking about himself in the third person. Whatevah. ;o)

  • let he who is without sin cast the 1st stone.

  • Rick

    Note to the critics:
    You go to a ball game, realizing that almost everyone you’re paying to watch will never be in the Hall of Fame.
    Does that mean they’re “hacks?” Do you feel cheated? Get a grip, people.

  • I own ten of his works and believe that making them available to enjoy in our homes was an excellent idea whether for a business venture or wanting to share with the public. For those who choose to speak ill of the dead I caution you as you have days left on this planet to have disappointments in your own life. God forbid that happening so speak carefully in the passing of anyone. I am certain we all have things in our lives that could be revealed in our passing and what good comes from harming survivors. Check your hearts before engaging your jaw bones.