Why it worked? He found a least-common-denominator (what you mentioned about people needing an "all is well" factor), and exploited it. Why his work fails for me (and probably for many others, but I won't presume to speak for anyone else) is that very same thing - I don't want or need a reinforcement of "all is well". He was also a master of self-promotion, to the point of vanity. "The Painter of Light"? Please. Caravaggio was a "Painter of Light", and whose work was infinitely more "Christian" than Kinkade's. But even though I'm non-religious, I could sit and look at a Caravaggio religious painting all day every day and not get tired of seeing it. There's depth and "soul" to a Caravaggio, precisely because it embraces darkness and doubt and chaos and humanity in the midst of telling a religious story. Caravaggio painted REAL humans (he once used a known prostitute as a model for Mary, mother of Jesus, and depicted her complete with bare dirty feet) in the midst of real emotional struggle. Kinkade's paintings are as flat as the inkjet paper he over-daubed. Kinkade's faith is a faith without test, and if you read seminal religious philosophers (of just about any religion, not just Christianity), you'd know that the point of faith is that it is supposed to be tested, and it is valued because it is held in the face of adversity, and affirmed through adversity. Kincade caters to those who wish to live in a world where nothing changes, everyone and everything is the same, black and white, good and evil are all clearly defined, and making moral choices is no more difficult than choosing ones breakfast cereal.
HDR with paint! Dig it. Who knew?
Some of the reasons people dislike Kinkaid that had nothing to do with being jealous.....
Thomas Kinkade's limited edition "Cinderella Wishes Upon A Dream" framed print being sold on a shopping channel.
Kinkade received criticism for the extent to which he had commercialized his art, for example, selling his prints on various home shopping channels The file File:Thomas Kinkade print being sold on shopping channel.ogg has an uncertain copyright status and may be deleted. You can comment on its removal.
Kinkade's works are sold by mail order and in dedicated retail outlets. Some of the prints also feature light effects that are painted onto the print surface by hand by "skilled craftsmen," touches that add to the illusion of light and the resemblance to an original work of art, and which are then sold at higher prices. Licensing with Hallmark and other corporations have made it possible for Kinkade's images to be used extensively on other merchandise such as calendars, puzzles, greeting cards, and CDs. By December 2009, his images also appeared on Wal-Mart gift cards.
He has also authored or been the subject of over 120 books and is the only artist to license his trademark and artwork to multiple housing developments.
Kinkade is reported to have earned $53 million for his artistic work in the period 1997 to May 2005.
At the height of his business, there was a national network of several hundred Thomas Kinkade Signature Galleries, however they began to falter during the Great Recession. In June 2010, his Morgan Hill, California manufacturing operation that reproduces the art filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing nearly $6.2 million in creditors' claims. The company, Pacific Metro, plans to reduce its costs by outsourcing much of its manufacturing.
 Criticism of business practices
Kinkade's company, Media Arts Group Inc., has been accused of unfair dealings with owners of Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery franchises. In 2006, an arbitration board awarded Karen Hazlewood and Jeffrey Spinello $860,000 in damages and $1.2 million in fees and expenses due to Kinkade's company "[failing] to disclose material information" that would have discouraged them from investing in the gallery. The award was later increased to $2.8 million with interest and legal fees. The plaintiffs and other former gallery owners have also leveled accusations of being pressured to open additional galleries that were not financially viable, being forced to take on expensive, unsalable inventory, and being undercut by discount outlets whose prices they were not allowed to match.
Kinkade denied the accusations and Media Arts Group successfully defended itself in previous suits by other former gallery owners. Kinkade himself was not singled out in the finding of fraud by the arbitration board.
In August 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that the FBI was investigating these issues, with agents from offices across the country conducting interviews.
Former gallery dealers also charged that Kinkade uses Christianity as a tool to take advantage of people. "They really knew how to bait the hook," said one ex-dealer who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They certainly used the Christian hook." One former dealer's lawyer stated "Most of my clients got involved with Kinkade because it was presented as a religious opportunity. Being defrauded is awful enough, but doing it in the name of God is really despicable." On June 2, 2010, Pacific Metro, the artist's production company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, one day after defaulting on a $1 million court imposed payment to the aforementioned Karen Hazlewood and Jeffrey Spinello. A $500,000 payment had previously been disbursed.
During the years 1997 through 2005, court documents show at least 350 independently owned Kinkade franchises at its peak. By May 2005, that number had more than halved. Kinkade received $50 million during this period. An initial cash investment of $80,000 to $150,000 is listed as a startup cost for franchisees.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
Art, money and religion is an unsavory mix. All you need is two of the three to make an unholy alliance. May I also add politics too. But regarding Kincade, I'm sure he's a skilled artist. But he knows how to tap into what people like and mass market it. His product is devoid of soul and culture. It's like fast food restaurants knowing what people like. Just like fast food, you don't feel good if it's the only thing one consumes. Both makes consumers disconnected and unchallenged which probably is the appeal. As one Zydeco musician said "I'd rather have a hot bowl of gumbo than a cold American hot dog."
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for bringing up Caravaggio.
Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014
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Gotta admit, I love the financial bunko aspect of all this. Maybe it WAS art....a kind of performance art for the Wall Street rip-off goo-goo-fundamentalist anti-intellectual kitsch-swilling early 21st Century America-in-decline reality we all inhabit. Heck of a sentence, that.
I'll respect the person if, and only if, I respect WHAT they did and HOW they did it. I respect neither in Kinkade's case. If "great success" is your benchmark, do you also respect the people who run drug cartels?
Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble
Possibly quite true
You sound like Mark Morford I get the feeling that Kinkade's art could be a cultural product of Wealth Ministries from the type of Joel Osteen. Wealth is to be worn like a cloak as an indicator of God's approval. The poor and the unsuccessful on the other hand are being punished. Am I way off here?
Originally Posted by sdotkling
I can't do what he did either from the artistic aspect or the financial aspect. Can any of you critics best him? And, by the way, what are the critics' credentials here?
This absolutely looks like jealousy to me. As I stated before I didn't care for his work but he made many people happy and he became filthy rich for it.
Sirius... are you serious? What does drug dealing have to do with visual art? You're WAY off base.