Void Manufacturing

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The Madness of Thomas Kincade

Posted by voidmanufacturing on September 3, 2008

             

A Critical Review of Thomas Kincade

an excerpt:

Upon close examination, Kinkade’s rural dystopias appear to possess the following common themes:

 1) Hellish glow seen emanating from every closed window to every sealed-up cottage, clocktower, inn, horse barn, church, etc. All of Kinkade’s structures seem consumed from within by raging infernos. What might be laughed off as artistic excess suddenly trickles icily down your spine when you realize that Kinkade’s rustic incinerators are operating at full tilt regardless of the time of day, prevailing weather conditions, and the particular season depicted in the painting!

 2) All of his structures bear multiple chimneys that are exhaling thin, vertically-stretched spires of exhaust smoke which are indicative of extremely hot fires within, and of virtually no air movement without. Again, these chimneys are operating in all seasons and weather conditions. Why are the fires burning so hotly all the time? What’s cooking? You don’t want to know!

 3) There is an inexplicable absence of people, despite the presence of livestock, abandoned agricultural implements, raging chimney fires, what have you. In Kinkade’s peaceful landscapes, it seems as if a sort of aestheticically-directed neutron bomb had detonated, leaving standing only the charming buildings, bucolic beasts and majestic landscape

              

 

 

Thomas Kinkade is reportedly the most collected living artist in the world, yet I am compelled by both space and time constraints to list above only two of his larger coffee-table art books. A list of all the Kinkade collections, gallery catalogues, co-authored religious inspiration books, home décor spin-offs, architectural plans, etc., ad nauseum, would match the size and content of the Asheville phone directory.

As the work of an avowed Christian, Kinkade’s art has been described as being dedicated to evoking an overwhelming longing for the peace, tranquility, and light-drenched orderliness of our pre-lapsarian existence. That his artistic and moral vision has inspired exclusive planned communities and pricey golf resorts seems to be an incidental although to Kinkade, certainly not an undesirable achievement.

Indeed, Kinkade-inspired galleries, limited-edition prints, and gift shop-related knockoffs constitute no mere cottage industry, although he does demonstrate a marked obsession for painting quaint Tudor-style cottages.

It is the pervasive acceptance of and clamor for the materialistic manifestations of Kinkade’s rather limited artistic vision the sanctification, if you will, of his penchant for depopulated and nonsensical rural scenery that serves to only increase the hair-lifting horror that lurks beneath his sun-dappled streams and glowing rustic manses.

Yes, horror. Horror of the worst kind, the horror wrought from juxtaposing innocuous items or idyllic surroundings with sudden ghastly consequences. The kind of thought-erasing horror that comes from watching a huge cylindrical brush used in an automatic car wash smash through your windshield. The kind of throat-parching, temple-pounding, sweaty-knees horror that comes from watching the stitched simpleton’s smile on a Raggedy Ann doll suddenly gape open into a bloody drooling leer.

Do not misunderstand me, here. Kinkade’s art does not evoke Clown Fear, or Marionette Fear, or Dick Cheney Fear, or Disney Audio-Animatronic Fear I’m talking about that Mother of All Fears: When Paradise Turns into Hell.

For this Halloween, if you want to scare the dickens out of discerning adults and impressionable children, forget about the works of Poe, King, or Koontz.

Just take a good look at the artwork of Thomas Kinkade.

Upon close examination, Kinkade’s rural dystopias appear to possess the following common themes:

 1) Hellish glow seen emanating from every closed window to every sealed-up cottage, clocktower, inn, horse barn, church, etc. All of Kinkade’s structures seem consumed from within by raging infernos. What might be laughed off as artistic excess suddenly trickles icily down your spine when you realize that Kinkade’s rustic incinerators are operating at full tilt regardless of the time of day, prevailing weather conditions, and the particular season depicted in the painting!

 

2) All of his structures bear multiple chimneys that are exhaling thin, vertically-stretched spires of exhaust smoke which are indicative of extremely hot fires within, and of virtually no air movement without. Again, these chimneys are operating in all seasons and weather conditions. Why are the fires burning so hotly all the time? What’s cooking? You don’t want to know!

 

3) There is an inexplicable absence of people, despite the presence of livestock, abandoned agricultural implements, raging chimney fires, what have you. In Kinkade’s peaceful landscapes, it seems as if a sort of aestheticically-directed neutron bomb had detonated, leaving standing only the charming buildings, bucolic beasts and majestic landscape

There is something terrible going on in these paintings.

Yet millions of consumers seem drawn, moth-like, to Kinkade’s infernal little countrified scenes, nevertheless.

Of course, it is tempting to cast Kinkade, a/k/a `Painter of Light, in a Lucifer-like role (remember, Lucifer in Latin means `light bringer). Yet a more compelling explanation for the incongruous elements in his deceptively warm and fuzzy-feeling art is that Kinkade has placed them there deliberately, and that it is not Kinkade’s evil that so many people are attracted to, but rather their own.

That is to say, then, that Thomas Kinkade’s art might be completely misunderstood, and that the sheer audacity and brilliance of his cunningly-wrought moral didacticism has been completely ignored.

Kinkade could possibly be our Dante, with limited editions available now on eBay; our Brueghel, hidden in the back of Southern Living, experienced only while you are at the dentist’s office, idly flipping through the magazines.

Like Hieronymous Bosch, Kinkade’s religious fervor seems to revel in the hell-bound procession of contemporary sinners, but unlike the 15th century artist, Kinkade does not resort to fantastic monsters or gruesomely apocalyptic scenes to depict their perdition. Rather, Kinkade’s genius lies in both his understanding and rendering of contemporary human frailty in terms of the lurid, irresistible appeal of idealized real estate. For Bosch, it was the bubble-bosomed, jewel-laden temptresses and the winged demons with fish eyes and spiked tails swinging mowing-scythes who represented the driving forces behind Renaissance depravity. For Kinkade, the ultimate context for modern evil is the seemingly static, wholly-controlled, wholly-contrived resort environment that attempts to evoke a pre-lapsarian perfection yet with all the amenities: a bed and breakfast Eden where NO OTHER PEOPLE can interfere with one’s vacation. Kinkade traps us within our own vanity and illusions, and then begins burning down the quaint little houses. The Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards would have sinners clenched fast in the hands of an angry god. Kinkade would have them locked inside thatched roof stone cottages, begging pyromaniac realtors and resort managers for mercy that never comes.

And in the comfy painting, the horses graze on, indifferent to the screams hurled against the stone walls and the rosy windows shut fast for eternity. Maybe those aren’t even horses in Kinkade’s `A Perfect Summer Daythey’re Centaurs! And this time, Virgil the Caretaker isn’t around to guide you safely through the pastoral Inferno that Thomas Kinkade, the `master of light, has cleverly created.

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57 Responses to “The Madness of Thomas Kincade”

  1. michael said

    A Critical Reveiw of a reviewer doing ‘A Critical Review of Thomas Kincade’

    Are you for real?

    From reading your review, I would say that it is you who is quite probably mad. I’ve never read so much weird rubbish in all my life. I will say you’re a very clever dramatic writer, but your content is extremely odd. You really should stay away from pictures if they keep you up at night! I’m really sorry for you if an artist as good as Thomas Kincade breaks you out in a cold sweat, it must be a horrible experience. I recommend some stress therapy to address your panic attacks. See if you can find a ‘when oil paintings attack anonymous’ help group website on google!

    You wrote ‘Do not misunderstand me, here. Kinkade’s art does not evoke Clown Fear, or Marionette Fear, or Dick Cheney Fear, or Disney Audio-Animatronic Fear I’m talking about that Mother of All Fears: When Paradise Turns into Hell.’ Wow, how dramatic but totally weird!

    You wrote ‘Yet millions of consumers seem drawn, moth-like, to Kinkade’s infernal little countrified scenes, nevertheless.’ Yes it’s called good taste, you wouldn’t understand!

    This article is reminiscent of a very jealous failed artist, who really needs do raise an IQ bigger than 10 and get out more. Either that or a very strange person who sees demons in a bedside lamp, tea leaves and dust manifestations!

    Just for your peace of mind, there are no demonic patterns in my comments. Not one little fork.

    I hope you get help soon.

    Kind Concerned Regards

    Michael Parkyn

    • Anonymous said

      I haven’t seen such an articulate dick in a while. Typically people debate opinions by discussing them, not by slinging insults at one another.

    • Taleya said

      A Critical Review of a reviewer doing a ‘critical’ review of ‘A Critical Review of Thomas Kincade’

      Resorting to ad hominem attacks upon the initial review, the aforementioned “critical reviewer” singularly fails to address the subject matter to hand, their work reading as exceedingly shallow and insipid. Whereas the original reviewer of Kincade’s work invited the reader to view his art from a new, potentially disturbing angle, the self-proclaimed “reviewer of the review” has provided no new insight nor counterpoint to this revelation, instead resorting to name-calling and insulting insinuations as to the initial reviewer’s mental state, in a manner best reserved for 4chan boards.

      If presented as a personal opinion, it would stand as such. As a review, however, it fails miserably.

    • Splurgy said

      “Yes it’s called good taste, you wouldn’t understand!”

      Good taste?

      Those paintings are the very definition of kitsch. Next you’ll be telling me that chocolate box paintings of kittens and flowers hang in the Louvre.

    • D. said

      Shut up Michael Parkyn! You are simply an ignorant. You have no idea what good/bad art is!
      You cannot separate poor taste from bad. Phew! Why are you talking? Kincade made postcards and not of the good kind, the type one can find in all archives of the 18-19 centuries when kitsch was invented. Then you could buy a 4″x6″ ‘Kincade’ at every news-agent for less than 1 penny! All he did was copy stupid postcards from Victorian times, if you knew history you would spot that at a glance!

      • MONICA said

        everyone’s entitled to make a quick $ for his family…even Kincade…so he could fund his serious art…….just like a lot of uni students work as waiters to fund their studies

  2. Anonymous said

    Yes, I’m sure you feel as if you are descending into the fires of hell as you view the “Stairway to Paradise”, too….

  3. A said

    You are fucking brilliant. I grew up in Placerville and have despised this man’s mass-market kitsch for as long as i can remember. Thanx for your jarring analysis. For Real. -A

  4. M. Mandy Ukk said

    Er, this picture from the article depicts several people out for a walk, and another one fishing, not “an inexplicable absence of people”. Many other pictures in his gallery (“Evening Carolers”, “Homecoming Hero”, “It Doesn’t Get Much Better”, etc) are similarly populated, and the people therein don’t exactly look like they’re running for their lives from a deadly blaze.

  5. Laura said

    Brilliant!!!! I hate that Kincrap. I think he must be in a Cthulhu cult or something now that I read the article…Yesssss, that`s it…Cthulhu consuming the souls of humanity in Kincaid`s little furnaces,bwahahahaha! L.

  6. Anonymous said

    People like you are the reason why Kinkade has to paint like that.
    He creates an image of a “paradise world” where everything is how it should be and people are not wasting their time
    on attacking gifted people because of their own inability.

    Poor you.

    • D. said

      “Gifted” with what? Painting postcards?
      You have no idea how bad his ‘art’ is quoted internationally, people roll laughing at what you ‘admire’ out of lack of proper esthetic education.

      • MONICA said

        like 2 see YOUR art…..both of you….jealousy presents in many forms……its people like u 2…thats ok..Im a believer in Karma……they say only the good die young…….I can see you both hobbling around at a 100 yrs old!!!!!

        “Gifted” with what? Painting postcards?”………..my reply to this is……..obviously you are SOOO well educated..that you cant even spell the word aesthetic correctly….ha ha ha! ! !….I wonder if you even know what it means?!!!!!…….go back to school…and in the process take a course in psychiatry….your lack of empathy is disgusting.

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  9. Anonymous said

    WOW. It’s obviously a joke on Kincade people. Does EVERYONE need to learn what satire means?

  10. Steph said

    I think your commentary is brilliant. I too am eerily creeped out by Kincade….thank you for your insightfulness…I now understand why I shudder every time I see one of his paintings!!

  11. I love this review! Isn’t it amazing to look at artwork traditionally seen as comforting and find horror in it? Delicious!

    • sccheah said

      Yeah you and the writer share the same devil head under the guise of a know all.

      • Michael said

        Archangel Laurence? Is that you? Get your ass off the computer and back to dealing with your servitors. Leave the petty arguments to humanity.

  12. Anonymous said

    I think someone is just Jealous that they cant paint.

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  15. sccheah said

    I think you are a psycho. While millions of people see Kinkade masterly paintings as a pure and pleasant depiction of life’s beautiful tapestry that brightens our dreams for a peaceful existence, you chose to paint a devious and vile picture of him. This can only come from a warped mind. Go and examine your head!

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  17. CreatorLex said

    I think some of you are taking this way too seriously. This review was funny and interesting, especially since I never heard of this artist and doubt ever seeing his art. The art is beautiful, but it does have a disturbing feeling with the glowing windows as if there is a fire inside. XD The review overall was satirical, too, yet some of you claim the reviewer is insane or jealous! :<

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  19. Kate said

    brilliant!

  20. Salvatore said

    I don’t know much about Thomas Kinkade, but this article seems to say more about it’s author than about Thomas Kinkade…stretch much…also there are people featured in more than one of the painting used in the article about how there are no people in Thomas Kinkade paintings.

    • Patiz said

      I have been laughing my sides sore at all the weirdness and criticalness these comment. If you want to know more about T.K. life, I suggest you watch the movie called, “The Christmas Cottage.” It shows his years as a young man. Cheers.

  21. Brilliant essay. I giggled my face off. I spent far too many years writing and slogging through critical reviews as an art student, and this is the antidote for them all. I’m only sorry your commenters can’t appreciate the snark, but I sure did. Very lyrical descriptions, and I was very impressed by the allusions to Lucifer the “Morning Star,” lit. light-bringer; that’s a deliciously obscure reference. A perfect parody. I bow to you.

  22. Monica said

    Thomas ,who died on GOOD FRIDAY…….HAD ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH DEPRESSION,……maybe his paintings were his way of not only making a $ to feed his family but a way of escaping into a world of safety and beauty,and of sharing his escapes….and maybe the fact that there are people who literally did want to tear him apart for different reasons…made him want to escape even more from the world we live in..which for a lot of us at times is ‘HELL ON EARTH’…without Thomas’s vision.

  23. Chila said

    This is a really unique way to look at these pictures and even though I love them, I loved your angle too. It just makes them more interesting. People who are annoyed by Kincade’s work, try not to be. He doesn’t do any harm and if it brings some happiness to other people’s lives – even better! People who worship Kincade’s work, try to accept that there will always be other opinions. I love coffee but other people would rather go for tea.

    Anyway, peace out – I think it was a very creative review.

  24. Just what exactly honestly motivated you to write “The Madness
    of Thomas Kincade Void Manufacturing”? I personallytruly appreciated the post!
    Thank you ,Taylor

    • MONICA said

      yes DEPRESSION…is likened to madness and often borders on it…go and do some reading on the topic…..unless one has experienced it first hand..YOU CAN NEVER KNOW the affect it has on reasoning……many great and wonderful artists have suffered from the condition and expressed there longings or interpretation of the world on canvas….I note there are many jealous folk in the world who dont possess a bone of talent..who are actually quite nasty and evil when they view the success of others…..and express themselves accordingly…..

  25. olga said

    I love Thomas Kincade paintings. I think they are beautiful even if they are kitsch! But I also like taking the little tourist choo choo trains when I visit foreign towns. Anyway, I find the scenes relaxing. When I saw the blazing fires within, I just assumed it was winter.

  26. Where exactly did u actually acquire the concepts to compose ““The Madness of Thomas Kincade
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  27. Beverly Templeton said

    March 18,2013

    Beverly Templeton

    I have always been drawn to Thomas Kincade’s paintings, especifically his paintings of cottages. For a long time I thought it was just about the form, the balance, and the color, just the overall beauty of the paintings. Gradually, the light and the meaning of “the painter of light” began to take on more prominence for me, and then I had the good fortune of coming across an article he himself had written, in which he explained what the symbolism of cottages or houses, the light shining through the windows and the smoke coming from the chemnlies meant for him. He told of being an elementary aged child, growing up with his younger brother and being raised by their mother alone. He shared his memories of walking home after school to a cold and dark house, because his mother was still at work and his brother still at school. He told of walking past house after house on his way home in the small quiet town of Placerville, and how it seemed to him then that every one but him was safely inside the protection and warmth of their homes as the evening approached, and they were able to return there (to safety and warmth) at the end of a day. A day that had often seemed overwhelmingly hard for a boy who felt burdened with the worries of being the older of his mother’s two children. He explained that it wasn’t that he didn’t feel loved by his mother, but rather the fear he felt of needing to help her, but not knowing how or being able to, with the adult problems she faced trying to provide for her two children alone. He explained how he longed for the light, the warmth, and the safety that the symbolism of the well lit, warm and tightly protective homes/cottages represented.

    As I recognized some of that longing in myself, and I think that most of us have felt it in some way specific to our own life experiences, I became even more drawn to Mr. Kincade’s paintings of light, especially the ones expressing these feelings.
    ,
    Psychology has long recognized a concept known as “Repetition Compulsion” which states that people will often repeat, in one way or another, a need or unresolved conflict from early childhood. They will feel literally driven to find a way, generally using a symbol of the problem, to express (thereby repeating) the problem or unmet need over and over, in the subconscious need to finally get it right and perhaps resolve it.

    I present this as a possibility only, knowing that one could not or judge Mr. Kincade or presume to know his motivations without, having the qualifications, skill, and privilege of being his counselor/therapist, and even then it would be only a hypothesis intended for working with him in order to help him to work through and hopefully finally be able to resolve some sad and serious unmet childhood needs.

    I do think that it is a very viable hypothesis though. And, since he himself chose to share these deep childhood memories, I think it thereby earns credibility.

    • Anonymous said

      THANKS Beverly,…great observation….Thomas’s artwork touches the child in me also having grown up in a household without a lot of love and afection and I fully understand why he painted what he did….I think the writer of the nasty article is not only VERY young but is so obviously a spoilt yuppy who has had EVERYTHING handed to him or thrown at him..on a plate

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  29. Anonymous said

    I thought the article was genius . I appreciate the comments too though.

  30. monica said

    yeah you would say that….u twit…u probably wrote the original criticism…without a care or research into the artist’s mindset…….people used to say that Vincent van Gogh was crazy too…….

  31. Thomas Kinkade’s mad glow expresses a disquiet regarding the utility bill of existence, just less ostensibly than Magritte’s “L’empire des lumières” –see http://lesveritesscientifiques.com/tag/couleur/

    • Monica said

      ho ho hum hum…whats wrong with candles,kerosene and generators…like we use on our farm…in winter its an open fire or one in the pit outide..the sooner we all get back to living in small clusters/villages instead of mouseholes and rabbit warrens/cities, the healthier we will be….my step children dont watch TV,cos we dont own one!!…they dont play stupid DS games…they still learn with the oldest reading tool on the planet….a BOOK !!!!!

  32. Patiz said

    I, again,must inform all who are interested in knowing more about T.K.’s life, to watch “The Christmas Cottage”. It is a very heartwarming movie about Kincade’s years as a young man. Awesomely done, too.

  33. D. said

    Brilliant article, thank you for that. Apt, informed, humorous – great job, great insights.
    Kincade’s place should be only here http://www.museumofbadart.org/

  34. It is pure schmatlz.

  35. Jeneva said

    I cannot believe the content of this article! Thomas Kinkade was a Christian man with an inspirational talent for painting light. His pictures often depict paradise like scenery, that can lift you out of a rut in life or open you’re eyes to the beauty around you. It has done both for me in the past and continues to do so, God gave Him a wonderful gift and he developed and used it very well, the warmth coming from the inside of the cottages he paints is a comforting belonging sort of light, as many individuals all over the world could witness too. He was an incredible painter, God rest his soul.

  36. SoniaMaria said

    Well this was a diverse read, just goes to show how we all have our different views on things. I found Thomas’ to be a friend to the world of light, shade and colour. His work delved into fantasy and someone’s ideal home vision. Why should we put this man’s work down? Surely for someone to paint in such a way deserves some recognition. An concept becomes a reality when an idea is born … so even if the work came from postcards, the initial idea was brilliant. We are all gifted at something and that is TK’s area. I say well done and thank you for allowing my mind to become tranquil as I took your beautiful light, shadow and colours into a part of my heart that needed it.

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