Thomas Kinkade: Painter of Shite
I don’t know why I do these things to myself, but ever since I typed the name “Thomas Kinkade” in yesterday’s post, I’ve been kind of outraged. You know, by the things that pass as cultural touchstones here in Idiocracy - schlocky paintings of hobbit houses and maudlin songs about buying mama new shoes so she’ll look pretty when she meets Jesus. Or maybe the outrage just overfloweth; I’ve had a shorthand term for this for over 2 decades: the LCD, or lowest common denominator. The LCD Principle dictates that anything that starts out kind of hip and cool – TV shows, fashion and decorating trends, etc. – will in short order be rendered into lame pablum for the masses. That’s because in our society we define success by the baseline of money, and the only way to attract more money is by appealing to more people – which means watering down your concept or product for broader appeal – and, inevitably, turning it into a commercialized, banal piece of shit.
So anyhows, I got this outrage, and I gotta have somewhere to put it; where better than Thomas Kinkade? It’s not worth wasting too many words, plus there are some great links to people who have said it much funnier than I can, so let’s just enumerate the offenses:
First and foremost, his “art”:
Probably what makes Kinkade “America’s most collected living artist” is the phenom of buying art to match the sofa. What this means is there are some ugly-ass living rooms out there – a lot of them.
Offense the second: he’s trademarked the phrase “Painter of Light” and describes himself as above: “America’s most collected living artist.”
Above and beyond: that second image was made into an inspirational, straight-to-DVD movie about how Thomas became such a successful “artist.” I’m pretty sure Lifetime was involved:
Sweet lord, how did Peter O’Toole get roped into this pile of crap? But I love the snide joke in having Chris Elliott play the guy who hires him to paint the mural – with the dog on the bike. To inspire the townspeople.
Further offenses: he painted this, and actually describes it as follows on his website (note that the link goes directly to the “buy Thomas Kinkade shit” page):
“As part of the redesign of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was asked to provide an image for use on a large wall. A very large wall – truly a moment of destiny for any artist.”
“To create the oil painting that would be the basis for the final mural, I utilized one of the largest canvases I have ever attempted in my studio. A full 6 feet wide, this canvas would be enlarged to create the final epic sized mural. As I worked it was as if heavenly light began to pour upon the canvas.”
“A final aspect of the creative process came when Franklin Graham himself suggested a fitting title for the work: The Cross. This simple title reflects the lifelong calling and legacy of his father, the evangelist Billy Graham.”
“My prayer is that this painting will bring hope to many just as Billy Graham has brought hope to millions through the gospel message.”
I saved the best for last, though…check out this post from Salon, posted in June, with this titillating sub-header:
His pastel dream world has become a lurid place of failed sobriety tests, bankruptcy and Winnie the Pooh abuse
Pooh abuse, you say?
And then there was the time he supposedly relieved himself on a Winnie the Pooh statue in a Disney hotel in Anaheim, Calif., while saying, “This one’s for you, Walt.” (Imagine Ashdown Forest at daybreak, and Winnie is drenched from a spontaneous shower; Tigger, Eeyore flee in terror. Title: “Golden Moments.”) When asked about this last story, Kinkade conceded in testimony that “there may have been some ritual territory marking going on, but I don’t recall it.”
Which brings us to one point of redemption: the above story inspired one of my favorite ever comments out of context:
Also. Too. This guy really hates Thomas Kinkade in a lot funnier way than I do. And as noted in comments, “Bob Ross could kick this dude’s ass…”
It just doesn’t get any better than that, my friends.
Update: From StringonaStick’s most excellent tip, you can see the Something Awful crowd’s take on Kinkade at the linkee. Here’s a sample:
Better yet, commenter B^4′s find: