|Thomas Kinkade - pictured in 2005|
Now he has died, on Friday age 54, I'm wondering who will be the next artist adopted with enthusiasm by the public at large.
This was a man whose espoused aim was to sell paintings which made people happy. His paintings certainly connected with many people who otherwise would not buy art.
While his art may have been very popular with the American people, he was not at all popular with the American art establishment who shunned and derided his work.
By retailing, licensing and franchising his "luminescent" art and images via Kinkade Gallery franchises and other print shops rather than through conventional galleries and across a range of prints and other products he achieved an amazing commercial success. He reputedly became a millionaire many times over. However, latterly the image of success was tarnished by successful legal claims relating to business malpractice. His art company also suffered when his paintings sold on the internet for much less than the prices in the Kinkade Galleries which immediately raised questions about value. His company lost much of its value, collapsed during the recession and finally filed for bankruptcy. However galleries which still stocked his work reported brisk business on Saturday. I gather buyers were hoping his work would now become more valuable after his death.
I have to confess I've never been a fan of Mr Kinkade's work as "an artist for the mainstream". I found it rather warm and fuzzy and altogether too twee.
However I've always been intrigued as to why his paintings sold so well while so-called 'better' landscape painting languished on the walls of galleries. Was it the painting itself, the allusions to Christian concepts or the rather slick marketing? I've come to the conclusion that he's akin to Disney who sold a fantasy which made people happy. People like fantasy and Disney and they liked the "still" version that they got from Thomas Kinkade.
One of the less well known aspects of his life is that back in 1980, he and his friend James Gurney (Gurney Journey) travelled across the country after college - plein air sketching all the way. In fact there's even a book of their journey across the USA by freight train. James Gurney describes it as
A comprehensive guide to methods and materials for drawing on-the-spot, based on an odyssey across America on freight trains.The Artist's Guide to Sketching was written and illustrated by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade and published by Watson-Guptill Publications, 1982 but is now out of print - and consequently sells for rather high prices as and when they do appear in the marketplace. It's increased by about $400 since Friday.
How will he be remembered? Here are the obituaries - in the major papers!
- Thomas Kinkade, wildly successful artist of cozy scenes, dies at 54 Washington Post
- Thomas Kinkade dies at 54; 'Painter of Light' worked to project 'serene simplicity' Los Angeles Times - Obituary
- Thomas Kinkade, Artist to Mass Market, Dies at 54 - New York Times
- Thomas Kinkade: Death of a Kitsch Master - New Yorker
|A Child with a Dove|
my sketch of a painting by Pablo Picasso
© Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
- Jeanette Jobson (Illustrated Life) has Easter Fish
- Jana Bouc (Jana's Journal) went for Hoppy Easter Bunnies (and a Guinea Pig)
- Judith Nijholt-Strong (Kats-in-Klompen) chose Easter Bunnies too Have a Happy Hippity Hoppity Easter 2012!
- Lin Frye (Sketching in Nature) has red tulips
- Casey Klahn (The Colorist) focuses on various paintings by Caravaggio and others on the theme "Descent from the Cross"
- Jonathan Jones (The Guardian) picked
Amazing grace: Raphael's The Mond Crucifixion by Raphael (age 19 or 20 - just take a look and weep!) and Heavenly sky: Giovanni Bellini's The Agony in the Garden
Meanwhile on the sketching front......
- James Gurney (Gurney Journey) has been keeping a sketching diary while travelling in China.
- Part 1: Shanghai Diary -- Getting There
- Part 2: Shanghai Diary -- American School
- Part 3: Shanghai Diary -- Old Town
- Part 4: Shanghai Diary -- Zhujiajiao
- Part 5: Shanghai Diary -- Goat Man
- Part 6: Shanghai Diary -- Sketching in Restaurants...
- Part 7: Shanghai Diary -- China Rising
- Part 8: Shanghai Diary -- Chinese / Russian Drawing
- Part 9: Sketching in Shanghai
- while I've been at Tate Britain Sketching people at the Picasso exhibition at Tate Britain - and the odd Picasso too.
- Ester Roi (Ester Roi Fine Art):
- Laura Cuming (The Guardian - Art & Design) has come up with The Ten Best Flower Paintings - in Pictures
- The Society of Feline Art blog announced last week that SOFA member Pollyanna Pickering is has accepted the official role of Conservation Partner to the Wildlife Conservation Division of the Department of Forests and Park Services of Bhutan. Read more about it in Tiger Conservation Partnership – Bhutan
- Joanne Mattera provided a post which outlined ways to improve your Artist Statement -
Marketing Mondays: 10 Tips For Writing a Clear Artist Statement
- Alyson Stanfield (artbizblog) has written a post about Fail-Proof Business Advice from 10 Years of Art Biz Coach
- This is an interesting story about art collectors trying to stop an artist making art. Or maybe it's about a very unprofessional artist failing to appreciate that certain actions effectively devalue art already sold. Anyway it's an Art Info news story about a photographer Sizing Up the Curious New William Eggleston Lawsuit: Can a Collector Really Stop Him From Making More Art?
- Race past the photo of the dyed bouffant above the face of the man formerly known as Melvyn (I've still got all my own hair you know!) Bragg and survey the nominees for the South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2012 which were announced last week. The nominees for Visual Art are
- Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, British Museum
- David Chipperfield: The Hepworth Wakefield
- David Hockney: A Bigger Picture , Royal Academy
This week I had a lot of posts about art competitions. These things tend to go in fits and starts and there's a lot going on at this time of year. Here are my posts from last week.
- Tim Storrier wins the $75,000 Archibald Prize 2012
- Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012: Call for Entries
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - The Shortlist
- International Garden Photographer of the Year 2011 at Kew Gardens
- For all those in the UK who love visiting museums and going to exhibitions and have an iPhone/iPod or iPad take a look at my Review: Art Guide - iPad/iPhone app by Art Fund - you won't regret it because it's free!
- Rachel Pedder-Smith's 5 metre long painting of specimens from the Herbarium is on display at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens. This is the Kew gardens link to information about the exhibition - The Pressed Plant, Rachel Pedder-Smith’s Herbarium Specimen Painting. This is a review of the exhibition Herbarium Specimen Painting at Kew Gardens. So if you're coming to London for the Annual Exhibition of Society of Botanical Artists - which opens on 20th April - you might want to pay a visit to Kew too
- I'm off to pay my fourth visit to David Hockney RA - The Bigger Picture this evening. It's the last day. This is my post Talking about Hockney's Landscape Painting on The Art of the Landscape which highlights the podcasts available. These will make sense to those who have seen the exhibition or have the catalogue.
- While I'm at the RA I'll probably pop in and see the Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed exhibition beforehand
- I've highlighted the The Best NEW Art Books in March 2012 - and hope to post the March update for Makingamark's Top 10 Fine Art Books later today
- Every time Deborah Paris publishes a new schedule of classes and workshops I'm very tempted! See Deborah Paris Spring Classes & Summer Workshop
- I've updated Top 10 Galleries and Museums and will be commenting on the changes in ranking later this week
- This Artdaily article Secret of Vermeer's blue uncovered: 'Woman in Blue Reading a Letter' fully restored by the Rijksmuseum' reveals how the museum discovered exactly how Vermeer produced such an intense blue colour.
- Below you can see the before and after versions of this painting.
|Vermeer's Woman in blue reading a letter |
- prior to restoration
|Woman in blue reading a letter (1663)|
- after restoration
- The debate about watermarks is on again after the recent Pinterest surge of unauthorised copying of artwork. ArtBizBlog hosted an article last week by Guest blogger: Kim Bruce about Anyone Can Snip: Protect Your Art with Watermarks
- Social Media Examiner has an article on Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images by Sara Hawkins (Saving for Someday) who is a lawyer. She also has a Digital (Online) Rights and Blog Law series
- Mashable has an article by a lawyer which is a cogent analysis of the issues and the implications - and boils down to the advice offered to all brands and corporate issues wishing to participate in Pinterest - The Copyright Question: How to Protect Yourself on Pinterest
You’ve heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when that picture is protected by copyright, the picture is only worth three words: cease and desist.
Keep in mind that, unlike Facebook — which is mostly about creating and posting your own stuff — the focus of Pinterest is posting stuff you find on other sites. MashableThe Internet, blogging and webware
- This is an interesting article which debates the future for printing The death of printing has been greatly exaggerated. It prompted the thought that if people are printing less now they have tablets maybe they will also buy fewer reproduction prints since they can get their art online - and the future of art is in the online image - designed for tablets.
Once Picnik is shutdown on April 19, 2012, your account and photos on Picnik.com will be completely deleted.
- You may be aware of and lamenting the demise of Piknik on April 19th following its acquisition by Google. If you are then you need to know that
What are some recommended photo editing sites?social media communication
If you're looking for a different photo editing service, try the Creative Kit in Google+, PicMonkey.com, or Aviary.com.
- If you're a member of Linked in you may already know this but LinkedIn’s New Group Search: Helping you find the right conversation faster. (I'm not - although I keep getting messages from people wanting to link to me!)
- The Social Media Examiner provides 5 creative tips to increase blog traffic and boost your business. Bear in mind this is not specifically aimed at artists
I've got family commitments this next week so I won't be posting from mid-week this week to mid-week next week.