Thomas Kinkade Art

I really admire artists that can turn their passion into a viable living, and feel I should bow down to the few artists around that become fabulously wealthy from doing what they love.
Even though Andy Warhol‘s art never really excited me very much, I admired his business skills. He’s easily in my top 10 most interesting artists list.

thomas kinkade paintingI probably admire good business artists so much because of the lack of business skills I have as an artist. It’s a challenging thing to commercialize something that can often be quite personal or intimate, but it has to be done. Once the painting leaves the easel, it becomes a product that needs marketing, promotion, and a price.

“I had reservations about making art a business, but I got over it.” Mary Boone

Anyway, an article in the Times online newspaper was talking about how art appreciates in value. It mentioned the contemporary British artist Damien Hirst and how his accountant claims the artist is worth about 100 million pounds (roughly $175 million USD). That’s quite an impressive figure and I can understand how he would get to that number as he’s often breaking auction records and being featured in art publications worldwide.
But what I did find surprising is that the American artist Thomas Kinkade, or the “painter of light” is possibly more cashed up than Damien Hirst! In the year 2000 his company made $140 million from selling his prints and posters.

I had previously just thought of Kinkade as a painter of fluffy patriotic scenes that can sometimes make me wonder what would posses someone to hang such a thing on the wall. After checking him out online, I’ve changed my mind about the man completely.
The man is more pop than Andy Warhol. I still think his paintings are way too patriotic and sickeningly pretty, but he is creating the work he likes and is making truck loads of cash doing it.
Check out his official website and the Thomas Kinkade Company website. If Warhol was still around, I believe his website would function in a similar way.

His online gallery is set up to SELL. He has everything from golf gear with the Kinkade name stamped all over it, through to Thomas Kinkade silk scarves.
Not every artist could pull off a similar online system, and many wouldn’t want to, but every artist could learn something from the way Thomas Kinkade sells himself online.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.

Comments

  1. Kinkade’s art is destined for the shelf in a flea market next to a big box of beanie babies. His customers are going to be angered at their loss of money and he will end up a mockery in an inset box in an American Art History Text (if he’s very lucky).

  2. Kinkade may end up somewhere in the history of American art, as Americans like America, but he will never have a place in the history of world art.
    His market is not those that like art, but those that like America, God, and fantasy. He knows his market and makes a good living doing what he loves. So, good on him.
    I personally wouldnt hang a Kinkade painting in the toilet, but it would be a boring world if we all had the same taste.
    I admire the man, just dislike the art.

  3. Anonymous says:

    that’s why he does what he does, sells art that’s what an artist does. Its not done tell it lands on the wall of where it was ment to be and payed a fair price.

  4. I’m not completely convinced that Kinkade really is turning his passion into a viable living, unless his passion is selling art. Kinkade has an army of people that are trained to paint in his style and create his paintings for him, make reproductions of his paintings, and add finishing touches to prints. Sure there have been others who have done this, but at least Warhol made a statement using this method of mass producing artwork. Kinkade is not making a social commentary with his art, he is not really painting his own work, and the subject matter is far from original. Yes he is making money, but where is the artistic part, how is this a passion?
    I can admire Kinkade’s skills along the same lines that I can admire Donald Trump’s skills. I certainly don’t look at Trump and think he must really be passionate about reality T.V. or golf courses or mortgages, but he does make a lot of money through these endeavors. In the same way, Kinkade makes a savvy entrepreneur….now Kinkade as an artist is another story.

  5. That’s an excellent point Sara.
    I think I just assumed that if you paint, it must be because you love to paint.
    But it does look like Kinkade loves to make money more than paintings.
    He doesnt seem so holy either.

  6. I value all the above points and don’t wish to cover old ground. Yeah, I say ‘good on him’ he’s got his old fasioned, master and apprentice set-up going on. Like Rubens or any of the ones we call masters due to thier approval from the Guild, he is painting what he ‘believes’. Rubens painted for the jesuits and looked up to St Francis Xavier and the likes, Kinkande paints for rich patriots and looks up to the Almighty Dollar. Chris Rock once said, “America worships the church of ATM” and I guess here is proof.

  7. Floridalon says:

    I bought my art work on the belief of a ‘good’ investment. Shortly after my money went into his pocket, you see him on Home Shopping Club,then the products in Wal-Mart stores, dollar stores, card shops and anywhere else he can make a buck. All of us that are holding is great work are left holding the bag. Looking at current values of his canvas work, is less that I paid for mine in 2001. Such a christian! Is exploiting a christian way? I have been disappointed with his nightlights, napkins, papertowels, potholders and all the items that he has lowered us to. I own three of is P/P canvas’s and am one of the many that has lost $$$ and belief in the great painter.

  8. Anonymous says:

    hawaiian says…
    I agree with the floridian..I bought mine in florida about the same time as an investment and it surely is not!! I believe Kinkade is a great rip off artist using religion as a front!!

  9. Art as an investment has always been risky. Just because you hear about Pablo Picasso and Lucian Freud in the news continually breaking auction records doesnt mean that the value of all artists continually go up.

    It’s a bit rough blaming the artist though as I’m sure he had hoped that his art would be worth more today than it was yesterday.

    He’s a commercial artist that does very commercial things, so you can’t pretend to be surprised when he starts making Thomas Kinkade toilet paper or whatever money making idea he comes up with next. He has found his real home if he’s selling in WalMart and dollar stores as he is a mass produced product more than an artist.

    It sounds like you still like the Kinkade paintings Floridalon, so all is not lost.

  10. What to do? I bought my studio Proofs (S/P’S )thinking I would hand down these beautiful art pieces to my children many years from now. But my wife and I just bought a small business and we could use the money we payed for Kinkades art work. “Garden of Prayer”. Anyone want a great deal on a great piece? budmach1@yahoo.com Thanks.

  11. I did see Thomas Kinkade tolet paper a few years back. It had prints on it of some of my so called limited edition prints. I guess my collection is worth about 25% of what it was when I purchased it. Basically, all his edition quanities and multiple print sizes really make all his works “Open Editions”. Greed is an awful thing. Someday he will be standing in front of the pearly gates trying to answer some tough ethical questions. I hope he brings some of tolet paper with him. He will need it!

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  1. […] with your life or your work. The British artist Damien Hirst is said to have an estimated 100 million pounds at the age of 40, but he seems to be getting too comfortable and has started repeating himself. Do […]

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