Thomas Kinkade is an artist I have grown up knowing all my life because I have a couple of his pieces of work back home. He mostly painted detailed landscapes bringing out beautiful colors and using unique techniques to create different effects to his work. Born in January of 1958 and raised in Placerville, California, some of his paintings were influenced by some of his surroundings during his childhood. Growing up, his ideas of becoming an artist were spurred by a man named Glenn Wessels before he went to college at the University of California, Berkley and later to Art Center College of Design. When he was 23, he traveled across the country with his college friend James Gurney, which surely gave him inspiration for some of his landscape artwork. They stopped in New York and decided to put a sketchbook together called The Artist’s Guide to Sketching, which got their names out and recognized.
From The Artist’s Guide to Sketching
The two of them then worked on an animated movie, which most likely is what influenced Kinkade to start to go deeper into imaginary worlds. This practice helped to train his mind to create work that is so enticing to people, images that people want to escape to. His pieces not only had the luscious colors, depth, and beauty, but the way he applied the paint was unique to me. The thick paint applied pops off the canvas at some places, and when light is projected on the piece shadows are created, giving the piece an extra edge.
Kinkade also painted some Disney scenes, which fit perfectly with his dreamy artistic style. The fantasy-like backgrounds of his landscapes are similar to what Disney would want to capture in his animated movies. Sometimes the backgrounds he makes are what complete the piece because they are so magnificent. Some critics call Kinkade’s art “Mall Art” because they accuse him of having no purpose behind his work; that he is just putting out pretty landscapes. Kinkade does, however, have meaning to his images. Part of the reason I like his art is because of the thought behind some of his paintings. Kinkade called himself religious, and his faith shows up in some of his work. He includes churches, religious symbols, and pieces of paintings that mirror stories in the Bible.
“Footprints in the Sand” February 2008
I was shocked to find out upon researching Thomas Kinkade that he died this April. Although some didn't like his artwork, I feel it is incredible.
Boylan, Alexis L. Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall. Durham [N.C.: Duke UP, 2011. Print.
Valance, Jeffrey. Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth. San Francisco, CA: Last Gasp, 2005. Google Scholar. Web. 8 Oct. 2012.