Umělec magazine 2001/3 >> Kinkade superstar / The Simple Art List of all editions.
Umělec magazine
Year 2001, 3
6,50 EUR
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

Kinkade superstar / The Simple Art

Umělec magazine 2001/3


Marisa Příhodová | reviews | en cs

"Standing diametrically opposite an artist like Veronika Drahotova is the man who is America’s most collected living artist. Thomas Kinkade (also known as The Painter of Light) is an American success story...and an art tragedy. Basically, you can’t avoid bumping into Thomas’ work even if you try and you can “acquire” the fantasy almost everywhere. It’s in shopping malls and in the “galleries” that sell his prints and endless re-prints nextdoor to hair accessory boutiques for teens, and on over 500 different websites dedicated to the propagation of his “work.” Thomas has apparently sold “countless millions of prints and paintings worldwide.” Primarily a painter, Thomas’ heavily romantic, sickly color-saturated cottages and winterscapes contrast wildly with Drahotova’s subtle images, leading “collectors” up a very different kind of
garden path.
Thomas is portrayed as a typical good American. He was born and raised in a small California town. He married his childhood sweetheart and they have four children. He even dedicates works to his wife and family, hiding their names within the images. But Thomas’ work doesn’t just bring happiness to his own family, oh no: “His work brings hope and joy to millions each year.” He seems perfect in almost every way, which may account for his latest Perfect series of paintings. “The Perfect Red (or yellow) Rose,” “The Perfect Summer Day,”….yes, you too can purchase the perfect existence and world that Thomas lives in and creates. He paints utopian-style upper-class homes and houses with flower-crammed gardens, with even the odd deer or two to complement his Bambi-land American landscape of prosperity. He paints an idyllic past (somewhere around the turn of the lastcentury) in order to sell to the present. It is a world which doesn’t exist, where even society doesn’t exist (maybe simply due to a lack of figural painting skills). However, the exclusion of any identifiable human subject allows the viewer to become completely lost in the image, lost to the point of imagining oneself occupying that lovely home in that perfect world. Nowhere here will you find the ghettos of America, barred windows, or gated-community living. The image of “The Gate” does recur frequently in his paintings, but more as a symbol of entry or passage than of restriction or prohibition. A complete dissolution of reality is what conceptually defines and shapes each Kinkade work.
Thomas is also referred to as the “painter-communicator.” This isn’t an artist who
simply paints nice landscapes for enjoyment; this is someone who is trying to get through to his art “collectors.” “He is a devout Christian and credits the Lord for both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings.” So, with God-given talent handed down from the heavens, “each painting is a quiet messenger in the home.” Like putting a crucifix around the neck of your living room, you can prove your faith simply by hanging up one of his art works. The “Kinkade Glow” as it’s been termed, is then put forth as the light of Jesus shining through each window of these flawless homes, making Thomas’ paintings holy relics in their own right.
Thomas is also a published author spreading his philosophy on how to lead The Simpler Life. One of the main points he expresses in his book is that “true joy is found in the foundations of life, not in the frills we attempt to add.” Yet one begins to question what those “foundations” can be when his work is found on mugs, Bible book covers, mouse pads, Afghan throws, calendars, puzzles, and countless other unnecessary “frills” that invade, clutter, surround and “decorate” innumerable American homes. Some Kinkade fans spend their life savings and even go deep into financial debt collecting his work or attempting to turn their own homes into Kinkade home-clones. Thomas and his many sellers (or missionaries) persuade you that they are spreading the Word of God through selling the “Kinkade Glow” to others, where in fact they are reducing “art” to a mere commodity in the worst sense, and twisting the act of art collecting into their brand of
spiritual salvation.
Thomas Kinkade’s work basically insinuates that all modern and contemporary art could be evil, since the artists creating it aren’t inspired by God or spreading His Word. He even categorizes his paintings under titles such as the Master Series and the Impressionist Collection, implying that the quality of his work is right up there alongside Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. Thomas’ work “speaks to people” because it whispers in the ears of the spiritually desperate. It calls you out of modern darkness and into the light of his deranged fantasyland, where like a knight in shining armor Thomas “affirms the basic values of family and home and faith in God.” However, he has refused to allow his work to be shown in any form on other websites free of charge, so once again, redemption only comes with a price tag attached. He feigns dissatisfaction with the modern world in his work, while lapping up all its advantages, more in the vein of Judas than Jesus. Perhaps Thomas Kinkade is the Devil himself and the Second Coming is already here... bringing the death of fine art along with it.

References:, and other dedicated websites.



There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands
“A person must shake someone’s hand three times while gazing intently into their eyes. That’s the key to memorizing their name with certainty. It is in this way that I’ve remembered the names of 5,000 people who have been to the Horse Hospital,” Jim Hollands told me. Hollands is an experimental filmmaker, musician and curator. In his childhood, he suffered through tough social situations and…
Acts, Misdemeanors and the Thoughts of the Persian King Medimon Acts, Misdemeanors and the Thoughts of the Persian King Medimon
There is nothing that has not already been done in culture, squeezed or pulled inside out, blown to dust. Classical culture today is made by scum. Those working in the fine arts who make paintings are called artists. Otherwise in the backwaters and marshlands the rest of the artists are lost in search of new and ever surprising methods. They must be earthbound, casual, political, managerial,…
The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s The Top 10 Czech Artists from the 1990s
The editors of Umělec have decided to come up with a list of ten artists who, in our opinion, were of crucial importance for the Czech art scene in the 1990s. After long debate and the setting of criteria, we arrived at a list of names we consider significant for the local context, for the presentation of Czech art outside the country and especially for the future of art. Our criteria did not…
There’s 130 kilos of fat, muscles, brain & raw power on the Serbian contemporary art scene, all molded together into a 175-cm tall, 44-year-old body. It’s owner is known by a countless number of different names, including Bamboo, Mexican, Groom, Big Pain in the Ass, but most of all he’s known as MICROBE!… Hero of the losers, fighter for the rights of the dispossessed, folk artist, entertainer…
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
last 5 copies
More info...
30 EUR
Stories of coprophiliac and coprolaliac characters are full of love, sentiment and adventure. Of special interest are also...
More info...
3,22 EUR
From series of rare photographs never released before year 2012. Signed and numbered Edition. Photography on 1cm high white...
More info...
220 EUR
The testament of a man who stole and, in the depths of post-nature, rubbished the ashes of the practical philosopher Ladislav...
More info...


Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

Open Wednesday to Saturday 12 - 6 pm


Office: +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

Ivan Mečl, +44 (0) 7526 902 082


Shop, +44 (0) 20 8692 5157

Former papermill area, Nádražní 101
252 46 Vrané nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, +420 602 269 888

Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 6pm. From 15.12. to 15.1. only on appointment.


Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin, Germany, +49 (0) 1512 9088 150
Open Wednesday to Saturday 2 - 7 pm



Divus New book by I.M.Jirous in English at our online bookshop.