The Worst Painter in the World [UPDATED]

I’m guessing that as soon as you read that post headline, you immediate thought, “Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™.”

In that, you are correct.

Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, is the biggest hack in the art world, and it literally makes me sick that people have spend so much money on his trash. But there is no accounting for taste, after all.

I stumbled across ••this article•• which discusses his work on some movie based on one of his abortions — er, “paintings” — called (naturally), “The Christmas Cottage.”

[Side note: I am very distressed that Jared Padelecki, Marcia Gay Harden, and Peter O’Toole — three of my favorite actors — star in this atrocity.]

This article includes a memo that Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, sent to the director and the produces, outlining the process of creating the Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, “look.”

Here it is:

Thomas Kinkade’s

The Christmas Cottage

The sixteen guidelines for creating the “The Thomas Kinkade Look”.

1) Dodge corners or create darkening towards edge of image for “cozy” look. This may only apply to still imagery, but is useful where applicable.

2) Color key each scene to create mood, and color variation. When possible, utilize cooler tones to suggest somber moods, and warmer, more vibrant tones to suggest festive atmosphere. In general, create a color scheme for each scene that can be accentuated through filtering, DI treatments, or through lighting. Most of my paintings feature an overall cool color envelope, into which warm accents are applied.

3) Create classic compositions. Paintings generally utilize a theme and variation compositional motif. Heavy weighting of the image towards one side, with accented areas of interest balancing it on the other side. Allow the eye to wander into the scene through some entry point. Be aware of where the viewer is standing at all times. Utilize traditional eye levels for setting the shot — that is, no high vantage points, off-kilter vantage points, or “worms eye view” vantage points. Generally focus on a standing adults viewpoint of the scene at hand.

4) Awareness of edges. Create an overall sense of soft edges, strive for a “Barry Lyndon” look. Star filters used sparingly, but an overall “gauzy” look preferable to hard edge realism.

5) Overall concept of light. Each scene should feature dramatic sources of soft light. Dappled light patches are always a positive, glowing windows, lightposts, and other romantic lighting touches will accentuate the overall effect of the theme of light.

6) Hidden details whenever possible, References to my children (from youngest to oldest as follows): Evie, Winsor, Chandler and Merritt. References to my anniversary date, the number 52, the number 82, and the number 5282 (for fun, notice how many times this appears in my major published works). Hidden N’s throughout — preferably thirty N’s, commemorating one N for each year since the events happened.

7) Overall sense of stillness. Emphasize gentle camera moves, slow dissolves, and still camera shots. A sense of gradual pacing. Even quick cut-away shots can slightly dissolve.

8) Atmospheric effects. Whenever possible utilize sunset, sunrise, rainy days, mistiness — any transitory effect of nature that bespeaks luminous coloration or a sense of softness.

9) A sense of space. My paintings feature both intimate spaces and dramatic deep space effects. We should strive for intimate scenes to be balanced by deeper establishing shots. (I know this particular one is self-evident, but I am reminded of it as I see the pacing of the depth of field in Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon”.)

10) Short focal length. In general, I love a focal plane that favors the center of interest, and allows mid-distance and distant areas to remain blurry. Recommend “stopping down” to shorten focal lengths.

11) Hidden spaces. My paintings always feature trails that dissolve into mysterious areas, patches of light that lead the eye around corners, pathways, open gates, etc. The more we can feature these devices to lead the eye into mysterious spaces, the better.

12) Surprise details. Suggest a few “inside references” that are unique to this production. Small details that I can mention in interviews that stimulate second or third viewings — for example, a “teddy bear mascot” for the movie that appears occasionally in shots. This is a fun process to pursue, and most movies I’m aware of normally have hidden “inside references”. In the realm of fine art we refer to this as “second reading, third reading, etc.” A still image attracts the viewer with an overall impact, then reveals smaller details upon further study.

13) Mood is supreme. Every decision made as to the visual look of each shot should include the concept of mood. Music can accentuate this, use of edges can accentuate this, atmospheric effects accentuate this, etc.

14) The concept of beauty. I get rid of the “ugly parts” in my paintings. It would be nice to utilize this concept as much as possible. Favor shots that feature older buildings, ramshackle, careworn structures and vehicles, and a general sense of homespun simplicity and reliance on beautiful settings.

15) Nostalgia. My paintings routinely blend timeframes. This is not only okay, but tends to create a more timeless look. Vintage cars (30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc) can be featured along with 70’s era cars. Older buildings are favorable. Avoid anything that looks contemporary — shopping centers, contemporary storefronts, etc. Also, I prefer to avoid anything that is shiny. Our vintage vehicles, though often times are cherished by their owners and kept spic-n-span should be “dirtied up” a bit for the shoot. Placerville was and is a somewhat shabby place, and most vehicles, people, etc bear traces of dust, sawdust, and the remnants of country living. There are many dirt roads, muddy lanes, etc., and in general the place has a tumbled down, well-worn look.

16) Most important concept of all — THE CONCEPT OF LOVE. Perhaps we could make large posters that simply say “Love this movie” and post them about. I pour a lot of love into each painting, and sense that our crew has a genuine affection for this project. This starts with Michael Campus as a Director who feels great love towards this project, and should filter down through the ranks. Remember: “Every scene is the best scene.”

The list above is not all-inclusive, but is a good starting point for internal dialogue. These guidelines are not listed in order of importance, but are dictated off the top of my head. After painting for nearly 40 years, I still wake up every morning daydreaming about new ways to make paintings. Creating a movie is a natural extension of the picture making process, and hopefully my catalog of visual paintings, along with my visual guidelines in this memo will provoke dialogue, experimentation, and a sense of over-arching visual purpose.

Okay.

According to the article linked above, one art curator said this:

“Putting Thomas Kinkade in an art-historical context is like trying to put Jack Chick in the context of the illustrated comic strip,” says Peter Frank, associate editor of The Magazine Los Angeles and senior curator at the Riverside Art Museum. “In the age of Photoshop, anybody can do this kind of crap.”

Now, you might think that I am not a sentimental person. That is not true. I am. I have been known to cry while viewing genuinely moving films, such as “Schindler’s List,” “Brokeback Mountain,” and the like. Indeed, among my circle of friends, I am the most sentimental person in the group. And no, I’m not kidding.

What I object to is schlock. And Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, is the very definition of schlock. His paintings represent some sugar-coated, false, cheap, commercial sentimentality that appeals to a certain portion of the American population. [Hint: they mostly live in one certain area south of Pennsylvania and east of California, and spend an awful lot of time in church.]

My friend Ben and I once came across a Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, retail store in some mall. Out of curiosity — as neither of us knew much about Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™ — we entered.

I honestly think that this visit gave me diabetes.

We were greeted by a pleasant older-than-middle-age woman dressed neatly in a dark purple sweater and black slacks, with her graying hair swept up into a bun. She welcomed us with a bright smile, and asked if we knew anything about Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™. “No,” I told her.

She then told us the story in the same breathless way that newly converted Evangelicals tell the tale of the first Christmas [picture President Bush when he gave up drinking at Laura’s insistence. Damn it. If he never quit, he would never have been president. Oh well — hindsight is 20/20, as they say.].

She then explained how the “artist” made one original, which was then turned into a print and highlighted with oil paints by “trained highlight artists” [that is, not Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, but some of his minions who no doubt work in conditions worse than diamond miners in the Sudan. They must have undergone forced lobotomies in order to work for him.].

Ben and I then proceeded to tour the “studio.” There are very few times in my life when I have laughed as hard as I did. Each painting gave us new material. These were not forced laughs, or even laughs made intentionally to offend the kind woman at the desk. These were genuine, bottom of the soul, almost uncontrollable hysterics. After not a few sharp looks from the kind woman, we left this “gallery” of horrors.

But we left with a lifetime of memories.

And diabetes.

Now that you have hopefully washed your eyes out with soap, here is a real piece of art, one my personal favorites, and perhaps not entirely unrelated to this post:

The Scream, by Edvard Much:

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27 Responses to “The Worst Painter in the World [UPDATED]”

  1. G– Damn NBC « Zalandria Says:

    […] Right now I hate you worse that Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light.™ […]

  2. JonC Says:

    Yes but have you seen Kinkade’s Nascar work? A true artist at work.

  3. Shawn Says:

    Where would one find such masterworks?

  4. angie Says:

    you suck thomas kinkade is the best painter in the world

  5. Minister of Information Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Angie. What proof do you offer for your assertion?

    • Brandon Says:

      I loathe Kinkade too, but in the cause of fairness, what proof do you offer for yours, besides a commentary on how to reproduce a Kinkadian feel?

  6. Kiss MY ASS Says:

    Hello FUCKTARD…WAKE UP CALL!!!!! YOU KNOW HOW MUCH WORK IT TAKES AND MAN HOURS TO PUT TOGETHOR THIS TYPE OF PAINTING YOUR ARROGANCE ASTOUNDES ME…I FOR ONE APPRICIATE ALL FORMS OR ART AND UNTIL YOU LEARN TO FIND SOMETHING GOOD IN ALL FORMES YOU HAVE NO DAMN RIGHT TO CRITIQUE ANYONE ELSES AND AS YOU CAN SEE YOUR WALKING ALONE IN YOUR KINKADE HATE…IVE SEEN PEOPLE LIKE YOU BEFORE YOUR ONLY JEALOUS OF WHAT YOU CANNOT BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO DO AND YOU JUST HAVE NO RIGHT I IMAGINE IF YOU SAT DOWN TO EVEN ATTEMPT A PAINTING SUCH AS THIS YOU WOULD FAIL…SO GET A LIFE…

  7. KISS MY ASS Says:

    OH YES AND I’M HERE ALSO TO SAY….BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN…???????ARE YOU A FAGGIT…THAT MOVIE BLOWED

  8. Minister of Information Says:

    Hi Kiss,

    Thanks for stopping by. I don’t appreciate the SHOUTING, however. Here’s my critique:
    1. “Fucktard” is not a word. I think you meant “fucking retard.”
    2. That being said, I can prove I am not retarded. I have a Ph.D.
    3. “You know how much work it takes and man hours to put…” is a question, yet you ended that phrase with an ellipsis. You should have placed a ? after “painting.”
    4. “Togethor” is not a word. I think you meant “together.”
    5. “I for one appreciate all forms or art” should read “I for one appreciate all forms OF art”.
    6. “Formes” is a not a word. I think you meant “forms.”
    7. Elses needs an apostrophe: “Else’s” (possessive).
    8. “Your” should read “You’re” (contraction for “you are”.) The same issue arises in the next sentence (“your jealous…”)
    9. “Ive” should read “I’ve” (contraction for “I have”).

    Now that that’s out of the way, I will address your other points:
    A. I have some idea of the amount of work a painting takes. My problem is not with Kinkade’s amount of work, but rather his abysmal artistic vision.
    B. It is not true that all art has “something good” in it.
    C. I am not jealous of Kinkade’s “talent” (for lack of a better word) or his money. I would rather be homeless than produce such schlock.
    D. It is true, I would not be able to replicate his work if I tried. Thank God.

    🙂

  9. KISS MY ASS Says:

    AND BY THE WAY ONE OF THOSE SO CALLED MINIONS HAPPENS TO BE HIS BROTHER THEY HAPPENED TO GET PAYED VERY WELL AND NOT BAD CONDITIONS…IDK IF YOU HAVE SOME HATE AGAINST HIM FOR WHAT HE STANDS FOR BUT YOU SHOULDN’T JUDGE PPL FOR THERE BELIEFS AND SORRY FOR GOING OFF ON YOU BUT YOU NEED TO DO RESEARCH AND ACTUALLY GET TO KNOW A PERSON BEFORE YOU JUDGE THEM…

  10. Minister of Information Says:

    Hi again, Kiss:

    1. “Faggit” is not a word.
    2. “Are you a faggit” is posed as a question, yet once again you refused to make use of the question mark.
    3. “Blowed” is not a word. You probably meant “blew.” But as you seem to be about as intelligent as Kinkade himself, I’ll let it pass.
    4. In your previous comment, you noted “I FOR ONE APPRICIATE ALL FORMS OR ART” – (and I forgot to note that “appriciate” is not a word), and yet you savage one of the greatest films ever made. You therefore contradict yourself.

  11. KISS MY ASS Says:

    …HIS VISION IS OF BEAUTY…WHAT THE WORLD COULD CONSIST OF IF THE WORLD DIDN’T HAVE PEOPLE IN IT SUCH AS YOU TO BLACKEN AND DISTORT IT. I MAY NOT HAVE A PH.D B/C I’M ONLY IN HIGH SCHOOL BUT AT LEAST I AM ABLE TO SEE NOTHING WRONGE WITH TRYING TO BIGHTEN THE WORLD WE LIVE IN…YOUR PH.D IN WHATEVER, DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN EXPERT IN ART…AND CERTAINLY DOESN’T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO HATE ON SOMEONES WORK TO WHOM YOU HAVE NEVER MET..THEREFORE MY CONCLUSION IS IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT KEEP IT TO YOURSELF NO ONE CARES TO HERE…

  12. Minister of Information Says:

    Well, you certainly don’t have a Ph.D. in spelling!

    I won’t bother correcting the myriad of problems with your latest post, but I would like to correct one point:

    YOUR PH.D IN WHATEVER, DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN EXPERT IN ART…AND CERTAINLY DOESN’T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO HATE ON SOMEONES WORK TO WHOM YOU HAVE NEVER MET.

    While it is true that a Ph.D. in 20th century United States political history does not make me an expert in art, although I did take several art history courses during my school, because I am interested in artistic expression. In case you don’t know, the full title of “Ph.D.” is “Doctor of Philosophy.” What is a philosopher? Someone who critiques, who argues, who explores, who expresses an opinion on a variety of topics. Therefore, I earned the right to critique Thomas “Schlockmeister” Kinkade.

    His “art” … or rather “product” … offends me as a human being.

    Plus, wouldn’t the world be a boring place without someone like me to “BLACKEN AND DISTORT IT”? I think it would. A world made up entirely of people like you sounds like Hell to me!

    Just kidding. I’m sure you’re a nice guy? girl? You just need to grow up and learn a few things about the world.

    I appreciate very much you taking the time to comment!

  13. Minister of Information Says:

    Wait a minute! Stop the presses! Kiss, you accused me of being a “faggit”!

    You’re a homophobic illiterate moron, Kiss.

    And by the way, studies have PROVEN that most homophobes are actually closeted homosexuals!

    So you have a choice: come out of the closet and let go of your anger and hate, and live a happy life, or be one of those assholes that frequents glory holes and condemns homosexuals. you’re choice.

    Don’t be an asshole, Kiss. Please.

  14. Simply a Passerby Says:

    hmm… personally i quite like Thomas Kinkade. Although to each thier own i suppose.. what exactly is it that you do not like about Kinkade’s work?

  15. stingwray Says:

    well, It happens that I am selling Thomas Kinkade mouse pads. Pls go to my site.

  16. Minister of Information Says:

    Stingwray: how appropriate! the world’s worst artist on the face of a totally useless artifact!

  17. johnny Says:

    if you dont like his paintings, then they should take a away your phd…..you are a jackass!

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Minister of Information –

    I have much enjoyed reading your many entertaining retorts (as well as kiss my asses’)
    I admire such patience with people who think that they like prostitutes who pose as artists;
    for deep down even Kinkade must know that his work is banal at best.
    I also want to say that it is refreshing to find someone who is actually irritated by
    moronic,comercialized, bad art.
    peace ~

  19. 29 Says:

    I dont know, it seems that thomas kinkade has a lot of fans. I have a lot of customers buying thomas kinkade’s art.

  20. Kevin Says:

    Thomas Kinkade’s paintings definitely have a feel to them but I would consider them equal to Britney Spears in artistic expression. At least Britney admits that she doesn’t believe what she used to release. I think people here need to do some research on Thomas Kinkade to see why no one likes him. As for why people don’t like his art… good luck finding which shadow is the right one, why his houses are on fire, or a single proper light source from the so called “painter of light

  21. Lirra Says:

    Hello,
    I’m an art major, and I found your comments about Kinkade utterly hilarious. I personally detest his work, and I’m also rather sentimental. He’s just… gooey. However, I do want to make a couple points. First, not everyone who likes his work is some Bible-pounding suburbanite. My grandmother, who is a hard-working, West coast rural gal from the working classes, loves his paintings of trees and lighthouses. She doesn’t love them as art, really, but rather as things that make her happy, rather like porcelain dolls or (in her case) porcelain birds. I think that this is where his work belongs, in home decorating. Yes, it’s kitschy, and lordy is it ever overpriced, and I wouldn’t decorate with it. But, there are those who enjoy their prints they get for Christmas presents because the prints look nice next to their curtains or something. 😉 And, really, other than Kinkade, my grandma has pretty good taste in, say, Coen brothers’ films and classical radio and great literature (her house has more books than a library) and indie rock bands (kinda hip lady, really).
    My only other comment is that I don’t think your exaggerated comparison to diamond miners in the Sudan is at all tasteful. It’s rather like saying that being forced to work in an office is comparable to being in a Nazi death camp or a Soviet gulag, and is just really tactless. I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way, but it made your otherwise intelligent article feel a little… less so. Anyway, best of wishes.

    Oh, what do you think of Jeff Koons? I think he’s as bad as Kinkade and that his (derivative) art sucks. I’m sure plenty of people think he’s amazing, but I most certainly do not.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    a real artist understands more than anyone else the diversity of taste! creation is personal it has its own lane and is enjoyed by who ever shares that lane!.For you to pound out such negative things about a artist who had his own specific taste of which some like and others do not says whole lot about you! No one says YOu have to like Thomas Kinkade’s work! and no one say i have to like a painting resembling a ‘howling smudge that looks like my dog ran through peanut butter’ but some may like that I’m not to judge…Get into your lane and stay there you are swerving madly!


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