Its all personal taste of course but the death this weekend of Thomas Kinkade, self styled “Painter of Light”, a phrase that he protected by copyright but which has been long used for the true master JMW Turner, whilst being sad for his family, won’t exactly cause me to wring my artists beret in anguish (no I do not own an artists beret, favouring instead the panama).
For why ?
Take a look at his web site and make your own mind up, its personal taste.
Thomas Kincade has been one of the top selling contemporary American artists for several years, his company Media Arts Group had a turnover in excess of $100million largely through licensing his artwork on anything that would sell, and while art critics have constantly criticised his “chocolate box lid” approach to art in which every porch has a lighted lantern and American flag flying, the company claims that one in ten American households have at least one of his works in them – so they’ve done something right although strangely, their web site is nowhere to be seen.
He’s not the only one to trade on nostalgia art of course, hands up everyone who has ever watched Bob Ross and those “l’il old squirrels” and then wondered how the hell he ever got away with painting the same made-up chocolate box lid scene on every episode, go on, admit it, he sent you to sleep after ten minutes didn’t he ?
And yet the Bob Ross Inc Company still trades years after his death, you can buy a whole range of Bob Ross acrylic paints, Bob Ross brushes and palette knives and his trademark Bob Ross huge clear perspex palette as well as dozens of Bob Ross books and dvds, and its all sold at a huge premium because its got Bob Ross’s name on and its no different to the acrylic paint, brushes, knives and palettes that are unbranded and on the next shelf along, apart from being twice the price of course.
One of my favourite American publishing gallery’s is The Greenwich Workshop who promote several excellent American artists, but even they have their very own nostalgia artist in the form of Paul Landry who has been a most popular repro print artist for at least a couple of decades, I can tolerate most of his stuff though as despite having a lantern on every porch and an American flag in every painting he does at least use realistic colours and not assume that the whole of America is like a scene from a Disney movie.
Speaking of the Greenwich Workshop, take a look at the artist Stephen Lyman who died some time ago now during one of his many mountain hiking expeditions, and see if you can recognise which one of his paintings I copied and currently list on this page.