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Monday, August 23, 2010

R.I.P. Thomas Kinkade's art stamps

The untimely death of Thomas Kinkae's empire has come none too soon.  During a trip to Lake Arrowhead this summer I popped my head into a Thomas Kinkade gallery (which used to be much larger and adjacent to the once-Lake Arrowhead Hilton).  The gallery was empty of customers, had no flyers, postcards, etc. and featured many other artists' works.  I had read last spring that Kinkade was pulled over for a DUI and that many of his galleries (probably franchises) had closed.  I'm not saying that the man can't paint, but I'm not sure he is actually doing the painting...we all pooh-poohed the "starving artists" of the 60's and 70's whose formulaic approach to art offended our sensibilities, but what's the difference between the assembly line creation of those paintings to Kinkade's (or Warhol's for that matter).  Kinkade has had classier galleries than the gas station locations of the starving artists, but aren't they both signs of their times?  Art to match your couch?  It's just that most of our couches in the 60's and early 70's were "spanish style" hunks of wood with flocked velvet upholstery so the starving artists scenes of Spain and Italy were perfect.  ...Kinkade's paintings fit right in with shabby chic and the whole "WHITE" style of decorating, but at astronomical prices.  I think the final straw for me was seeing a painting of Kinkade's with Pinocchio on a hill overlooking Bethlehem (I might not be remembering it correctly), sort of Jesus visits Disneyland.  All I know is that I was totally offended and my standards are not, I was amused and vindicated to see a display in Stamp Your Art Out during Stampaway week of only a few Thomas Kinkade rubber stamps and a sign that read "no longer available."  Perhaps that sign prompted the remaining stamps to fly off the shelves and these were the orphans...hurry up and buy them, they're no longer available...but for me, it was a huge relief to see them go.  Putting the Kinkade name on every sort of commercial product is worse than the Elvis Presley estate putting the King's name on many undignified items -- but I loved the King (R.I.P. August 16) and don't begrudge Priscilla, Lisa Marie or their heirs cashing in on over 30 years of us missing Elvis...Thomas Kinkade on the other hand has made enough off his painting in his lifetime and should really rest in peace, or take up singing...

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