Thomas Kinkade Improves the Disney Classics

Christian painter (and former Ralph Bakshi employee) Thomas Kinkade, who once allegedly urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure outside the Disneyland Hotel while yelling, “This one’s for you, Walt,” is now an official Disney licensee who is turning out “limited edition” paintings based on the studio’s films.

Well, actually, they’re not paintings according to Kinkade. He prefers to call them “narrative panoramas” because they’re “a recreation of the entire panorama of the story. It is the narrative all told in one visual form.”

The narrative panoramas–watch the Pinocchio video above to get an idea–form his series called Disney Daydreams. “These are my daydreams of the places and the worlds envisioned by Walt Disney, but reinterpreted as a Thomas Kinkade painting.” Wait a second…he just said they weren’t paintings! What’s he trying to pull here? Whatever he wants to call them, it basically means that he’s reinterpreting Disney’s creativity into “completely worthless collectibles” with no investment value. (Update: Check out these brazen blog posts from Kinkade resellers–here and here–touting the investment value of the Disney pieces.)

Then again, maybe I’m the one who’s missing something. In this video released a few days ago promoting his new Beauty and the Beast piece, Kinkade makes a woman moan in ecstasy simply by describing the characters in the painting. Clearly, the man is doing something right.

Just for kicks, here’s another video about his Snow White painting. Kinkade discusses how he utilized “very specialized techniques” to create the painting, such as making a full-color sketch to lay out the composition. But before you complain, you should know that Kinkade makes his work for a special audience that doesn’t include you: “I always say that my paintings are for real people, people who enjoy life and enjoy beauty. Not necessarily for those who have studied art or know the traditions of painting.”


  • http://austinpthings.blogspot.com Austin Papageorge

    No matter what the bizarre outlook of Thomas Kinkade, no matter the “investment value” of this paintings, he still has an undeniable skill and talent for which no one should resent him.

    • Isaac

      Hear, hear. The paintings are very skillful, even if they’re not for us. If all “substance-less” paintings were this good, the world would surely be a better place.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Certainly the type of paintings my mom would’ve loved, as her view of art was still very narrowed down to realism versus the more abstract, alternate forms of the artform I was more used to myself.

      • jic

        Yes, but there’s much better realist art out there. Still, if people like his stuff and owning it makes them happy, then good for them.

    • Chris Sokalofsky

      exactly what I was going to say. hate the man, hate the pitch. The painting is still extremely well done. I would be perfectly fine hanging this in my studio.

    • Jeff Haynes

      So what is his “bizarre outlook”?

    • Steve Gattuso

      Kinkade is a charlatan who uses mass-production methods to turn out overpriced prints of work that’s overlit, saccharine kitsch best left to art flea markets or the hotel trade. “60 Minutes” did a segment of this fraud and his “hand painted” works, and it’s astonishing how much people pay for the junk.

      I’m one of those “real people” he like to con with his schpiel. Never studied art seriously, never went to school, and never considered myself a top art critic. But I can spot crap when I see it.

      Skill and talent mean nothing when put to the task of artistic confidence schemes.

  • http://[email protected] laurghita

    The kitsch make money and money can buy anything.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Now that Disney owns Marvel Comics, we can look forward to Thomas Kinkade sharing video time with Stan Lee. Together, they’ll unleash a hype-wave of smoke and mirrors that will threaten to destroy Reality as we know it…in easy monthly payments!

    • Scarabim

      I HATE that Disney owns Marvel. That was Iger’s brilliant idea of an easy way to attract boys to the Disney brand. Why bother with fostering the creative forces within the company to come up with boy-oriented content? That means risk! Creativity isn’t cost-effective! We’ll just buy instead!

      So what did he get? A bunch of superhero characters that couldn’t even keep Marvel afloat (didn’t it file for bankruptcy not long ago?) Brilliant move, Iger! And how many of those characters are likely to generate dollars via the big-screen treatment? Spiderman’s shot his wad. The Hulk has failed on two big-screen outings. The Punisher, Fantastic Four, all failed. So much for savvy acquisitions. That’s two for two for Disney, including the Muppets buy.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if Disney buys out Kincaid next. He’s probably Iger’s idea of the next Mary Blair! :P

      • Mark Morgan

        Okay, first off, Marvel filed for bankruptcy in 1996 during Bob Harris’ run as editor in chief of the company and the reasons were varied. Part of it was the rise of independent competitor Image which was started by a group of disgruntled former employees, part of it was due to the inability of the existing staff, but the real reason lye in the fact that in 1992, there was a huge upsurge in readership that lasted about four years and then disappeared overnight. It’s been often conjectured that the main reason for this flight by the fan base was tied to lazy writing and the over saturation of cheap gimmicks like multiple covers per book, inciting fans to by several different versions of the same story.

        Marvel recovered a few years later and has been going strong ever since, primarily due to Bob Harris’ successor Joe Quesada who for better or worse has changed the way a lot of people read comics in general and certainly the way they read Marvel Heroes.

        As for Marvel’s movies, the only flop the studio has produced is Elektra. Even critical failures like Ang Lee’s Hulk have recovered their budgets and turned a profit. Speaking of the Fantastic Four, the first film actually grossed more than the first X-Men movie and the second one topped the first. Fox is currently planning another one, but is going the reboot road.

        In fact, there was an article published in USA Today … I believe it was last year, where it was stated that dollar spent for dollar earned Marvel’s properties were some of the most lucrative movie fair in Hollywood history.

        Now don’t get me wrong, I was not and still am not that happy with Disney’s purchase of the House of Ideas but that’s more because I’m worried that Disney’s going to tone down Marvel as opposed to Marvel doing anything to poison Disney.

        Let’s be completely honest. Disney hasn’t been Disney in years because Disney was never really a company, he was a man. Walt’s influence was felt over the company for a while after his passing, but it’s fading away bit by bit causing the company to lumber on like a reanimated corpse.

        Marvel by contrast was always built on interchangeable creative teams. Stan Lee only actually wrote and edited for Marvel for about 12 years after he began to create super heroes. Beginning in the early 70s guys like Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Chris Claremont, and Roger Stern began to take over.

        The 80s saw the advent of even more talent as did the 90s and the 00s brought the biggest influx of new writers and artists in the company’s history. Frankly, I’m excited to see where the 10s will take us.

        I honestly can’t say the same for Disney. “The Princess and the Frog” was a step in the right direction but it wasn’t nearly as good as what it was trying to imitate. And that’s my biggest problem. Disney the man was who he was because he was always on the cutting edge, looking for new ways to do things. He was always looking forward. The people in charge now keep looking back. How would Walt do this? What did Walt do? If you look at Walt in the 30s vs. where he was in the 60s, he was doing things in two completely different ways because he always progressed. You have a whole studio that’s trying to follow the man to the letter rather than in spirit.

        Now I will say that in terms of animation Pixar seems to be following his spirit pretty well and in terms of live action Walden Media seems to be doing the same but the Disney corporation as a whole is not. It just feels … well, fake to me. Walt’s movies both animated and live action always felt genuine … even if they weren’t that’s how they felt.

        Sadly, aside from the aforementioned Pixar and Walden Media projects, the only Disney properties that really have me excited are a few of the comics coming out of Boom! Studios.

  • http://www.christianelden.com Christian

    Blech.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Thinking of what Kinkade was able to achieve over the course of his life, “Completely Worthless” isn’t completely far off, but he certainly knew how to make some dough in this fashion.

  • Uli Meyer

    Oh my…how utterly tasteless is this?

    • Mark

      Oh NOOOOO….it’s not TASTEless.

      It’s got LOTS of taste. All BAD. He worked HARD to make them bad, which is why his “skill” and “talent” is completely deniable.

      • http://na paul d

        Not to put too fine a point on it. It’s crap but I wish I was my crap that was selling. (:

        My drag queen friends would kill for this level of “artistic stewardship”.

      • Mark

        Kinkade’s drag queen friends like it, too.

  • http://WWW.JOSESAENZ.COM Jose Saenz

    Yeah, say what you will about the guy (I’m not a fan of his marketing tactics either), but damn he can paint. I think the paintings are beautiful.

  • Steve

    “My paintings are for real people, people who enjoy life and enjoy beauty. Not necessarily for those who have studied art or know the traditions of painting.”

    Teabaggers.

    • stavner

      “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.”

      “So do cows, madam.”

  • MichaelDair

    When I see this over priced crap at the park I just vomit. Yeah he may be a fine painter but this is just crap, and his over the top descriptive narrative gives me stomach cramps.

    One can only imagine this stuff ends up on the simulated hand hewn faux wood paneling of a trailer trailer, someplace in Bakersfield.

  • http://justforspite.blogspot.com Gene Hole

    say what you will about his art, but that shopNBC video is hilariously entertaining. SO much exaggerated hype.

  • barney_miller

    I don’t mind if an artist takes a stab at the worlds created by the artists at Disney. I’d just like to see them do quality work.

    I seriously can’t believe anyone, especially people who visit this site, think this guy’s paintings are beautiful. Any artist fresh out of Art Center can paint circles around this guy.

    Seriously, take a look at the Gustav Tengren paintings, that inspired the look of Pinocchio and you’ll see why this guys is such an incredible hack.

    Kinkade’s colors and values are almost as muddy as his compositions

    If you want to see beautiful paintings, please check out the blogs of artists like Paul Lasaine and Sam Michlap. Now those guys can paint!

    • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

      Wow, I just had a great hour enjoying those three artists you named. THANKS! :D

    • amid

      J.M.W. Turner is the English painter that Kinkade unscrupulously took his “painter of light” tagline from and trademarked.

      Ward Kimball home

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/william_joseph_dunn/ William Joseph Dunn

        Kinkade is to Turner as Oasis is to the Beatles.

      • Steve Gattuso

        Incorrect. Oasis can SING. Kinkade’s more like a bar band in the Midwest who think they’re the Beatles because their drummer has Ringo’s hairstyle.

  • Jorgen Klubien

    Yeeikes!

  • Adam

    Neither of those videos made me moan in ecstasy. I feel cheated.

  • DB

    Wait, which one of his artists painted these for him to sign his name on?

  • timmyelliot

    Wow. You weren’t joking about that woman orgasming.

  • pat

    Painted on the finest black velvet for real people who enjoy beauty.

  • http://austinpthings.blogspot.com Austin Papageorge

    “It’s got LOTS of taste. All BAD. He worked HARD to make them bad, which is why his “skill” and “talent” is completely deniable”

    I must say, I’m not exactly familiar with the career of Thomas Kinkade. I’ve seen a painting of his in the Ralph Bakshi book, and I’ve seen a few of his Disney paintings. I don’t know what biases I’m supposed to have if I am to share the majority opinion of him, but I conclude he is a competent painter, even if the whole “painterly Disney film” look is somewhat corny. That is the reasoning behind my previous comment to this post.

  • Tee

    “Tributize”.

  • http://thelift.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

    LoL a great read Amid. I was just in Vegas this weekend and took a stroll down the strip to the Pawn Stars shop (its a TV show on History Channel). They had a few WB animation cells and a Yogi Bear cell, of course remembering the 90′s I knew these were reproductions. The shop was selling them for about $400 each (about half what they used to go for). I was also on a cruise last year and saw these paintings by Kinkade and man the BS the cruise people blow to get you to buy one of these things, its incredible!

  • Caitlin

    Why is he talking about completely finished painted while holding a paintbrush…its not like hes actually painting them during the videos

  • B.R. Inle

    “Christian painter”? What, like Michaelangelo?

    • Chuck R.

      I was struck by the same thing.
      I guess Amid woke up in a hating mood and thought: I think I’ll rag on Kinkade today. Hmm, and I think I’ll warm up on Jesus.

  • Alissa

    Isn’t this the same guy who sells prints of his ‘art’ with a few dabs of paint on top and calls it a painting? What I want to know is why is there a creepy urine-yellow glowy halo around everything he paints…

    • Steve Gattuso

      Jaundice

    • Jabberwocky

      The yellow/orange halo in his paintings plays into another selling gimmick: if you have a light with a dimmer switch focused on the painting, you can turn it down and “make the sun set” on the painting. His target audience finds this very impressive.

  • http://exitplanetwhom.blogspot.com gavin mouldey

    Are these not digitally enhanced/modified before printing? When he talks about a “special softening” technique I assume he means an overlayed Guassian blur or similar effect in PS.

    Reminds me of the “original paintings” I saw for sale in the Disney shop at Disneyland Paris. Clearly prints, but sold as originals on canvas. They had applied a layer of varnish or similar medium over the print making sure to follow the original brush strokes, thus the viewer sees the raised varnish strokes and assumes it’s the paint. On close inspection you could clearly see the print grain.

  • holyduck

    Once I say the phrase “who once allegedly urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure outside the Disneyland Hotel while yelling, “This one’s for you, Walt,” is now an official Disney licensee who is turning out “limited edition” paintings based on the studio’s films”, I knew who wrote this post.

    And at first I thought Amid mistook the initial impression of the guy… until I read that last sentence. Yep. No longer reading this.

  • stavner

    “I may not know are, but I know what I like.”

    “So do cows, madam.”

  • stavner

    I’d really like to see Brian Bolland draw an Uncle Scrooge story.

  • Sunday

    I *just* happened to see some of these works this past weekend and I enjoyed the mash-up far more than I would’ve expected. The extremely colorful vistas and always cheerful Disney characters paired together made me realize Kinkaid might have just discovered his most effective ‘niche within a niche’. I’ve put his art down a lot over these years, but here’s something that actually seems to work surprisingly well — even if you throw negative Disney commercialization vibes in there with it.

  • http://kaseygifford.com Killskerry

    If you look up douche-bag and cross reference tacky you come up with Thomas Kinkade.

    I remember going to the Dentist office as a kid and they had a few Kinkade’s in the waiting room. Even then I was like…those are the ugliest color schemes I have ever seen.

  • Fred Sparrman

    “The Painter of Lite.”

    I don’t think his drunk driving arrest in June is pertinent to this story, so I won’t mention his drunk driving arrest in June.

  • Scarabim

    Feh on Kinkade. The REAL Painter of Light is Jesse Barnes. The man is not only a good painter, he’s a hell of a draftsman: http://www.bframed.com/Barnes.htm He understands and uses perspective well and brings out the beauty in nature and rustic settings without getting overly kitschy. Got a real eye for color too. My uncle’s got a couple of his paintings. I never get tired of looking at them.

  • Bronnie

    Painter of shite.

  • http://jessicaplummer.blogspot.com Jessica Plummer

    I demand Celebrity Deathmatch be brought back from the grave so we can have a Kinkade VS Bob Ross showdown of epic proportions.

    Team Bob Ross!!!

  • http://hand-drawn-animation.blogspot.com David Nethery

    His “art” is rotten in my opinion , but what’s your point in describing him as a “Christian painter” ? ( Is he a Christian ? Who really cares ? I certainly wouldn’t know it from looking at these paintings. )

    In the video Kinkade actually says his paintings are “all about celebrating nature and celebrating a romantic view of life” . So maybe he’s a romanticist Pagan if his stuff is really all about celebrating nature.

    No Christian themes, no Christian imagery in any of this kitsch , so it makes no sense to apply a special “Christian painter” designation to him.

    And does it really make his paintings any better or worse if he happens to have a personal religious affiliation … or no religious affiliation ? If Kinkade was not a believer would you have gone out of your way to describe him as “Atheist painter (and former Ralph Bakshi employee) Thomas Kinkade … ” If he was a Buddhist would you have made the distinction? — “Buddhist painter (and former Ralph Bakshi employee) Thomas Kinkade … ”

    C’mon …

    • jic

      From Kinkade’s website:

      “As a devout Christian, Kinkade uses his gift as a vehicle to communicate and spread inherent life-affirming values.”

      There are also religious works displayed on his site.

    • amid

      David – In the past decade, Kinkade has begun to market himself very shrewdly as a Christian painter. His website makes that clear, as “JIC” pointed out above.

      If you listen to the language he uses to describe his work, even in the Disney pieces, there is a subtle but calculated use of evangelical keywords that target a specific kind of buyer.

      Here’s a “very private” moment from Kinkade’s life that he posted onto his blog, his head bowed down in front of a painting called “The Cross” he made for the Billy Graham Library.

      Also, see this recent LA Times article: “In 2003, Hazlewood and Spinello sued [Kinkade] and his company, then called Media Arts Group Inc., alleging that he’d used his Christian faith as a tool to fraudulently induce them to invest in a Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery. ”

      Describing him as a Christian painter is more than accurate because his faith is a primary component of his marketing tactics and is exploited for the purpose of selling his artwork.

      • Upstanding Citizen

        “This was a very private and special moment for me”

        Which is why I posted it on the internet so that everyone knows about how private it was.

  • Tory

    Hi, this doesn’t look bad to me on initial view but your comments got me wanting a bit more back story as to him and what is going on behind the scenes about others painting for him and how these are marketed. Are you saying these are a collaborative effort with him taking credit, does he design it and others paint it? Then they are printed and lightly painted over then sold as freshly painted art? I have heard of some big time artists using assistant in such a way.

    This printing method I hate. While in college, not the one I graduated from but the smaller unaccredited one I attended at first, in a painting class they made us print out photo imagery on canvas and trace over it with light paint, it sickened all of my sensibilities. One of my better professors there said he had a friend that mass printed paintings, went downtown to a big city and did small touch up painting to the pieces as if he just painted this historic building and beautiful scene on the street and made a living that way. He wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t do that.

    I am a painter, I don’t paint like that, I paint and draw like this: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v687/bricolo/Art/

    Should I reconsider my path toward a more mainstream printing and tracing method are continue down the starving artist route?

  • http://kecky.etsy.com kecky

    These things haunted me all summer every time I walked into an Art of Disney store at WDW. I feel like these Disney ones are lacking even the kitschily enjoyable “painter of light” quality his schmaltzy cottage paintings possess. They’re just hot messes of oversaturated fanart.

    As for the matter of his religion, yes, Kinkade is a “Christian artist.” It wouldn’t be anyone’s business, except for the fact that he aggressively uses his faith to pander to the Christian market. It’s gross.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    To quote the great Kevin Bacon in TREMORS – “FUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!” The Disney Dozen – a threat or a promise?

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    How are these paintings reproduced? Assistants? Stencils? A Hotel/Motel art factory?

    • Jabberwocky

      As far as I know, they’re painted, digitally scanned and printed on to canvases, and then he has his “master highlighters” put the dabs of paint on the more limited editions to make them more “valuable”.

    • Jabberwocky

      Yeah, I’m quite familiar with these. I recently worked for an art gallery that was joined to an official Kinkade gallery. Kinkade also recently did a Wizard of Oz piece (which I found impressive only because it proved he could actually paint people).

      He’s definitely not aiming for the artistic crowd; as an employee, I was told to say that he “attended” two fairly well-known art schools, because the truth is he dropped out of both. Not surprising– art schools generally hate this level of kitsch. Instead he very shrewdly markets his work to an older Christian audience, usually people who don’t know anything about art and who are more likely to be impressed by his technique and the way he pastes Bible verses on everything.

      Apparently the Disney pieces and the Wizard of Oz are an attempt to capture a new market, because his estate is not doing very well. I was told that the store I worked at used to sell 4-5 of his paintings a day, now they maybe sell one every few weeks. The Kinkade company also recently had to shell out several million in a settlement when they were sued for fraud/shady business practices, and filed bankruptcy to “reorganize” the company.

      His paintings are technically sound, but rather boring, is the way I see it.

  • http://chiacheese.blogspot.com ChiaCheese

    Personally, I prefer the paintings of William Wray. He’s a painter of light AND dark.

    http://williamwray.blogspot.com/

    • Chuck R.

      I agree —Bill Wray’s fantastic. (I remember him calling himself the “Painter of Blight” at one time.) Blight never looked so good.

  • Gareth

    There has been one constant criticism of Kinkade’s work that has stuck with me over the years, and even now I still see him doing it.

    Take a look at all the house windows in his paintings. Notice how ungodly bright the light inside is, as if the interior of the house is on fire? If he’s really the “Painter of Light,” then he does a horrible job with it.

    • http://www.webcomicsnation.com/dholvrsn/index.php Doug Holverson

      Pat Moriarity did a parody painting of Kinkade and had the houses in full blaze on the inside.

  • Tom Pope

    Just ugh.

  • AaronSch

    It’s no wonder that so many of us are turned off by the attitudes that infect the creative community. A bunch of elitists who believe they are far more talented than they are in reality. Many live a bohemian lifestyle, on the government dole, living off the people they hold in contempt. Mr. Kinkade is talented and has made a bundle of money producing his art. So Amid finds it necessary to label him “Christian” as if derogatory and then proceeds to spread a rumor to further disparage the man. Pathetic.

    • Rodan

      Is talented? Is he? You don’t really think he paints all those himself do you?

      He’s got a sweat shop that turns these babies out… Disney backing him should be ashamed of themselves.

      • Guy

        Kincade has “black bag” (meaning you can’t disclose it) contracts with tons of artists that do these paintings. I’ve talked to a few that have been approached by Kincade to do work. He takes the paintings and christens them with his “light” and they’re done.

      • joxer96

        Wrong, they are not cranked out in sweatshops. They are PRINTS. Some of the higher end prints have highlights added by hand, something Kinkade has been open about since it started being done. All that aside, the stuff is indeed pretty cheesy.

    • http://kecky.etsy.com kecky

      Kinkade labels himself a Christian, nobody else has to do it for him.

      Personally I have no problem with being open and honest about one’s faith, unless one is doing it as a marketing tactic to cater one’s product to a specific demographic. Then I have a problem with it.

    • jic

      “So Amid finds it necessary to label him “Christian” as if derogatory”

      I thought that was what he was doing at first, but Kinkade self-identifies as a Christian artist.

    • Alissa

      but Kinkade calls HIMSELF a Christian painter ‘of the light’.

    • Anoniguy

      The only place where artists live a bohemian lifestyle off of the government dole is the Land of Make Believe, television. Most artists are hardworking individuals who even if they manage to support themselves with their creativity live very modest lives and make sacrifices for their art. Most have to find separate sources of income, which you I am sure would call “real” jobs – since making art is just play, right? – and have to struggle to find time for their passion.

      Hucksters who shill mass produced re-touched prints as “originals” do not deserve your praise or respect. Not as artists, anyway. As a con-artist I guess Kinkade’s pretty great.

  • Rodan

    Funny post… I’ve heard so much about the Kinkade studio over the years. Mostly that he’s about as artistic as Walt was..meaning simply, he has a slew of talent turning out these babies. While he sits on the beach in Barbados sipping gin..or swilling.
    A very temperamental man who knocks over easels when something doesn’t look the way he wants it to.

    BTW I saw a Mona Lisa and a piece of the Sistine Chapel at the mall… both at bargain prices I am sure. But if you really want to get your moneys worth and an investment in psudo pop-art… the velvet Elvis’s are hot right now… HOT HOT!!!

    And Disney has gave this man a license to steel?
    ROLL OVER WALTOVEN!

  • tim

    puked in my mouth…….not that i would buy a “painting” made on an inkjet printer with “paint strokes added” to give it that painted look……painter of light…..yuck….puffy paint neon color trash…. ENJOY! :)

  • Rodan

    BY THE WAY….

    Aren’t there any real artist left at Disney to do this kind of stuff on the up and up?

    And no one artist who has lived a lifetime could have produced as much paintings as he says he has.

    Can we say fakester, charlatan, hoaxer?

    Give me a break… Does Disney really think this will fly?

    Maybe at the Tokyo D’land.. hmmmmm………….

    nuff said.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Preproduction artwork from Disney, Dreamworks, Pixar, and other studio productions look better – to me – than Kink-Aid’s output. No hate for the guy, but his work is not particularly attractive. It looks like Xmiss catalog covers done in a hurry.

  • Matthew K Sharp

    “I always say that my paintings are for real people”

    A shrewd business move. In my experience, imaginary people have little or no discretionary income to spend on kitsch stuff like this.

  • Matthew Cruickshank

    I wish he’d called it “Snow White discovers the cottage pie”

  • http://www.grillomation.blogspot.com Oscar Grillo

    If you want to remove the bad taste of this vulgarity from your mouth, listen to this BBC program about Disney with Gerald Scarfe, Richard Williams and Brian Sibley:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00txhlb

  • JG

    This is what happens when you combine the very worst tricks from both the fine art and the kitsch. His paintings are straightforward (yes, not even clever or original or anything) illustrations, nothing else. Sparkly ones, akin to colorful “my little pony” style, at that. There are far better illustrators out there – illustrators who actually have a vision. He doesn’t seem to qualify as a fine artist either – they too have a vision and/or at least can explain what their work is trying to achieve. This one is just a manipulative prick trying to squeeze out some more dough by a peculiar combination of selling out and using marketing that imitates fine art, and it’s painfully obvious.

    I wish he’d stick to urinating on plush toys, that’s at least amusing.

  • Robert Fiore

    The hell of it is, these are not the most vulgar bits of merchandise to go out under the Disney name . . .

  • Inkan1969

    I don’t think this is new. I saw that Snow White picture at the mall a few years ago.

    Yeesh, the colors are so garish. It’s like the pictures glow in the dark. It might be that Kinkade does have talent. But he’s not putting his talent into his paintings. Because the paying public is not demanding to make talent work, and so he gives his customers what they want instead. Just like Jim Davis’s “Garfield” stuff.

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Given the choice between an artist extracting money from the foolish-rich class vs. the Tea Party doing it… Go Kinkade!

    I bet deep down he feels captive to this style and is tired of it. But he knows he’s like a band; if he changes his style the audience he’s taken so long to cultivate will be confused and disappointed and drift away to something more comfortable.

    Maybe in his basement he’s got a trove of far out freakish stuff that none of us would ever identify as “Kinkade”, to be revealed only after his demise. Or sooner if public taste changes.

  • Kristjan

    if you want truthfully masterpiece paintings of Disney related, then I would recommend Carl Barks oil paintings of Scrooge McDuck.

  • Scarabim

    Oh come on, robcat, what the hell is with the Tea Party bashing? What’s it got to do with the subject matter?

    This business of injecting politics into EVERY discussion is what’s killing sites like the TAG blog.

  • Dave O.

    Kinkaid’s paintings are the ugliest kitsch imaginable and Disney is dealing primarily in kitsch right now so it seems like a good synergistic fit in that regard.

    Also, why on earth would a fan of any of these movies want paintings of the backs of character’s heads???

  • Katella Gate

    In the words of the Immortal Bernstein:

    “It’s no trick to make a lot of money.
    If all you want, is to make a lot of money.”

  • Mark

    “…but Kinkade self-identifies as a Christian artist.”

    He’s about as “christian” as g.w. bush, sarah palin, adolph hitler, or glen beck.

    • jic

      Linking everybody you dislike with Hitler is always classy.

  • Chelsea

    This thread has become a ‘let’s suggest the best painters we know’…

    to each their own.

  • MC

    I had NO IDEA Kindade was such a consummate story man!!

  • pappy d

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    You can actually buy a real-life Thomas Kinkade house in a Thomas Kinkade gated community!

    http://www.myhiddenbrooke.com/featured.html

    • Matthew K Sharp

      But imagine how expensive your electricity bills would be, having all those lights in your house burning all night.

  • pheslaki

    Why would I buy a Kinkade painting when I can get the same effect from taking out my contact lens?

  • Mr. Dominex

    When Amid refers to Kinkade as a “Christian” painter he means “conservative Evangelical,” which is more an ideological movement than a religion. Kinkade has skillfully borrowed its tactics for rallying people to buy a product in the same way that FoxNews and the Tea Party have– by marketing his paintings as an ideological statement, for “real people” s opposed to those decadent intellectuals who like “modern art.” I admire the pure captialistic moxy of the guy, but his paintings are not very good. They’re bland, with shapes evenly distributed in the most uninspired manner. Of course the visual development art at Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks looks better. But Kinkade is building a brand that he wants people to identify with in a fiercely tribal way. Sarah Palin is doing the same thing.

  • Scarabim

    Mark and Dominex – could you please state your political beliefs at the ballot box, instead of injecting them irrelevantly into this topic? Have you any idea what a bad impression you’re making?

    Talk about haters…

  • Giovanni Jones

    You know that guy who painted the cute puppies with the big, sad eyes? What was his religion and political party? I’m deciding whether I should like those puppies or not. Of course, it’s not the puppies’ fault.

  • Griminy

    Krap.

  • http://animationwhoandwhere.blogspot.com Joe Campana

    A dear friend of mine summed up Kinkade in one word – McPainting.

  • The Ghost of Warner Bros. Past

    “The Horror. The Horror.”

    Kinkade has ruined the lives of a lot of people who drank his Koolade and invested in Thomas Kincade Galleries, only to get stuck with an overpriced inventory of paintings that no one would buy and that Kinkade would not take back.

    I’m surprised Disney would get involved with this “conman with a canvas.”

    What a racket…and man with no shame and no remorse.

  • dave

    If you like this stuff you’re just simply wrong.

  • http://www.octop.com Aleks Vujovic

    I bet he made a bunch of money doing these. I think I can appreciate art, but I don’t care for these paintings. It’s like “Jackson Pollock does Disney”, but way more saturated. And I don’t care for Jackson Pollock either.

  • David Breneman

    OK, so let’s cut to the chase, since there are already over 100 posts here: Someone please tell me, did Kincade ever paint backgrounds for Disney? That was supposed to be his claim to fame. He is a very good painter, who achieves some very impressive effects with light (although I would never buy one of his “hand detailed” lithographs for the prices he charges) – but can anyone cite a film with his art in it?

    • http://jessicaplummer.blogspot.com Jessica Plummer

      Ralph Bakshi was supposedly Kinkade’s introduction to animation, I believe, working on Fire and Ice as a background painter (I don’t mind Kinkade ever doing animation backgrounds…his craft seems suited to that sort of direction). James Gurney was on that crew too…though I’ll take Gurney’s work over Kinkade’s anyday; his blog is awesome too! http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/

  • Sam

    Wow.. Just wow. “This is history in the making.” Really? Seriously?

    Both their acting skills are good alright. Totally exaggerate the hell out of those ‘paintings’ on how amazing they are… Har-har.

  • Mr. Dominex

    Kinkade did backgrounds for Bakshi’s “Fire and Ice,” along with fellow painter James Gurney, who went on to repectable fame with “Dinotopia.” Back then, Kinkade’s work at least had interesting compositions, not the prettified sugar-sprinkles of his present enterprise. Somewhere Kinkade decided to go the route of televangelists that sell “Miracle Spring Water” whose only miraculous qualities are in the gullibility of the buyer.

    His paintings for Bakshi were technically competent, his “Painter of Lite” stuff is not– it is calculated to play upon fake nostalgia. All art has political/psychological dimensions. Hitler favored trite imagery of milkmaids in meadows with sheep, a babbling brook, etc, as a form of propaganda. When the world seems harsh, charlatans move in to sell a return to “traditional values” and fight back against the insidious “other.”

    An artist like Jeff Coons does kitsch for the irony, but Kinkade has created a much more intimate relationship with potential customers, riding piggyback on the Born Again counterculture and implying that ‘investing’ in a Kinkade is a vote for Jesus. Margaret Keane’s “big eye” paintings are conceptually valid and interesting by comparison. Norman Rockwell was a great storyteller and superb “feel good” illustrator. I admire Kinkade’s shameless perversity but the paintings themselves are negligible.

  • jic

    “Hitler favored trite imagery of milkmaids in meadows with sheep, a babbling brook, etc, as a form of propaganda.”

    Mike Godwin is spinning in his grave. He’s still alive, but has dug himself a grave and is spinning in it as we speak.

  • Some Painter

    The funny thing is, I saw these paintings for sale during my most recent trip to Disney World, and I assumed they were some kind of lame cash-in on the Kinkade “sparkly cottages in the woods” style. I don’t know if it’s better or worse to learn that Kinkade himself made them. (Better, I guess, if only because it means there is only one guy out there making these.)

  • http://abraham100.blogspot.com Abraham

    He’s a good painter, and trying to make a living. I don’t think it’s necessary to be judgemental.

  • Was my face red

    I’m now getting quite fascinated by the man’s work. Not the Disneys. The weird cottages. Who builds those houses in such remote places then hooks them up to a gas supply for those single lamp posts? Who puts the arc lights inside the cottages and builds the pointless, non-weight bearing bridges outside?

    J.M.W. Turner owns Kinkaide’s ass. There can be only one painter of light.

  • purin

    I kind of like these paintings. I wouldn’t mind an inexpensive poster or a folder with one of these pictures. You know, on the purely “This is a neat illustration” level.

    Earlier yesterday, I overheard a conversation about a Thomas Kinkade Disney painting and wondered what they were complaining about. Ah. This was what. The bragging and the attitude (and prices) that this is the best thing ever.

    It’s that boasting that turned me off. I know an artist needs to sell his work, but a little humility couldn’t hurt! Just a little! No, we did not just walk into your studio where you happened to be painting a finished framed painting with a large, wrong kind of brush for painting in that state of completion. An artist using his own name and title as a brand when describing his work, indeed. Blech.

  • Brad Constantine

    My favorite Kinkade observation was made by a plein air painter I know “He paints landscapes like someone who hasn’t been outside in a while”…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17894269586749112193 Eric Hansen

    Whether he is a Christian or just politically christian I don’t know, that’s between him and God, but he sure knows who his target market is.

  • Bulletproofheeb

    “Well, actually, they’re not paintings according to Kinkade.”

    I would hesitate to call them paintings as well.

  • Bill

    Its guys like these that keep me from calling myself an artist.

  • http://www.drunkduck.com/anecdote Marbles

    I really don’t understand the constant need around here to hate on everyone who doesn’t live up to some vague, arbitrary standard. It infuses a huge percentage of the posts and comments on this blog, and frankly it is NOT pleasant.

    You do realize that many art snobs out there consider the animated films many of us cherish to be worthless junk for the brainless masses, don’t you? Of course you realize that. That’s part of the reason there’s so much bitterness infused in this community. So the reaction is to…turn around and do the exact same thing to others. Nice.

    Kinkade’s work is mass kitsch. So what? It’s pretty. It evokes certain comfortable emotions. I thought so long before I knew the guy’s name or anything else about him. It is what it is. Are there artists who have more integrity and vision? Sure, by the million. But again, so what? I enjoy the stuff for its surface mood, which is the purpose of almost all commercial art. No biggie.

    From another angle, Kinkade hate seems to be the art world’s equivalent of Jim Davis hate. It’s a bit more understandable in that light, only because we all know that personal vision often means a lifetime of poverty whereas empty commercialism often makes people a mint. (And yet, somehow I can know this and not hate Garfield itself. Gasp! A paradox! NOT.)

    Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got strong aesthetic opinions and I’m angry about the state of things, too.
    But there’s a real elitist poseur mentality that sours the experience of just wanting to read what’s going on in the animation world. Seriously, what the bloody hell is everyone’s problem?

  • Funkybat

    On the site Amid linked to (worthless collectibles), there was a picture of Kinkade’s rendition of “The Princess and the Frog.” This picture really pissed me off.

    It depicted Naveen and Tiana in the foreground as frogs, admiring the bayou scene, which included Louis playing his trumpet, a riverboat, mansion, and HUMAN Naveen and Tiana *also* admiring the scene!

    So….either Kinkade is completely unaware of how the events of the film play out, or he just doesn’t care that this would be physically impossible unless either the human or frog versions of those characters traveled through time, to somehow enjoy the scene with THEMSELVES.

    Uuurrghhh……

    • Jonah Sidhom

      That’s probably just an artistic choice.
      I’m studying Art History nowand we just looked at “Tribute Money” by Masaccio where one of Jesus’ disciples is represented three different times in the same painting. I don’t know much about painting, but maybe it’s a common thing to see that.

      • purin

        It’s true, it used to be a pretty common thing to do, a little like sequential art for storytelling purposes, except not so linear. It’s not something we’re used to now.

  • chris b

    Awww that sucks he will be missed….His Cheese level was 10 out of 10 but it was good cheese. I remember seeing his cheesy semi autobiographical lifetime cheese flick The Christmas Cottage and will forever remember Peter O’Toole telling him “Paint the light, Thomas,Paint the light!” LOL!