Famed kitsch painter Thomas Kinkade, who claimed to be the most collected artist in the world, has died at the sadly young age of 54. Like anyone who was rich and famous, he had a controversial side: gallery owners accused him of unfair business practices and he was known to like a tot or two.

Fire up your backlit monitor and let’s all pay tribute to a one-of-a-kind artist.



  1. I’m pretty sure the writer didn’t mean “tot” (a rather heinous accusation, and one I do not find in the source article), but I’m rather uncertain whether what was meant was “toot” (as in an alcoholic bender) or “tit”; both are covered in the article.

  2. “…he accomplishes through urinating on things—like a Winnie The Pooh figure outside the Disneyland Hotel, which he peed on in the late ’90s while proclaiming, “This one’s for you, Walt.” He’s also been known to grope the breasts of female admirers and exclaim, “These are great tits!” And then there’s the incident in 2006 when he got drunk and began screaming “Codpiece! Codpiece!” at a Siegfried & Roy show.”


    I presently have a Kinkade calendar on my wall. I didn’t know who he was when I bought it (in Jan) – it was the only (cheap) calendar Barnes and Nobles had left in the store.

    Last month some artist buddy (presently having his troubles getting gallery shows) started complaining to me about “that guy” who “draws those all that wretched, candy ‘Americana’ and is making millions of bucks” and after listening for a while I said, “Hey man..that must be the guy on my wall.”

    I think I looked at the calendar again after that but really didn’t give it much more real thought.

    Only now, after having read the comments (at the top of this post) it is that I think I see the true genius of Kinkade.. and feel a profound sense of loss.

  3. His geek cred: he was a background painter on Ralph Bakshi’s “Fire and Ice” movie before becoming Rich And Famous.

    (And he did a series of paintings titled “Disney Dreams”.)

    I never liked his bucolic (geeze… sounds like a disease) scenes, but did appreciate his cityscapes. A bit like Impressionist Childe Hassam.

  4. When I read Heidi’s line I also thought she was talking about allegations of child molestation I hadn’t heard about. This seems a lot to burden his reputation with after those paintings and that Kincade-themed movie. Maybe she could consider changing the line? I’d hate to think that I could die with all my disgraces on my head and have a blogger remark about my reputation for “liking tots” the next day. This strikes me as the most important human rights issue on the internet for April 7, 2012.

  5. Let’s call a spade a spade: it was douche art. There are few who’s death gives me such pleasure. If you bought his work, there is still time to make amends with the Universe and kill yourself now.

  6. Stay classy, Cliff. You can hate his art, and you can hate how he treated people, but taking pleasure at someone else’s death is still wrong. I don’t like his art, but I’m still sorry to see him die in his prime.

    His art makes a lot of people happy, and those happy people funded the creation of jobs for student artists, mall-kiosk employees, and lots of others. Hating on Kinkade for not being a great artist is like hating on a fast food magnate for not being a haute cuisine chef, only without the argument about trans fats.

  7. Re: roommates, Tom Kinkade lived next door to Paul Chadwick (and James Gurney) in a crummy apartment building in Los Angeles back in the early 80’s. I was Paul’s roommate for a few months in the same building around that time. When Tom moved out, I took over his apartment and old furniture.

    Oh, and CitizenCliff? You’re creepy.

  8. OK I understood tot as a dram…which it is. And you lot better learn the mother-tongue couse you’ve been murdering it enough throughout the last couple-a centuries ( ducks down and waits for the hand grenades. Seriously though, I hate dhis work…to sentimental for me, but sad to see he’s gone he was a “character”.

  9. @Citizen Cliff

    My mom bought one of his original paintings way, way back in the day because she liked it. It’s still hanging in her living room. So, one more time, what should she do?

  10. The quality of art is 100% subjective. This is why opinions about the work of talented comics artists is all over the place.

    That said, the subjective quality of art means labels like “kitsch” are insults since its dictionary definition has no actual meaning. In my opinion the application of this label in the article is disrespectful to the recently departed.

  11. I had no idea Ron Swanson had time to paint, what with this wood-working and Parks & Rec duties…

    I’m not surprised that he liked tot-touching, tho… the mustache is the first sign of a pederast…

  12. I stumbled across Kinkade’s work when I was shopping for a desk calendar one January.

    I couldn’t believe that someone could paint that stuff so consistently well. Page after page of dramatic skies, and cottages with the lights all left on. Wacky.

    It was pretty obvious that he was technically very strong, and had decided to paint a certain type of product for a certain market.

    While I am certainly not someone who needs to own a painting of a cottage next to a lighthouse next to a waterfall at sunset, his work seems to have found a following.

    What really seems to rankle his critics is that Kinkade had offset reproductions printed, (see the 90 Minutes clip on the web) and his employees would paint a few strokes of actual paint on those sheets, to then be sold to collectors as some type of ‘custom enhanced’ image. For thousands of dollars each.

    That’s a slippery slope, and not one surrounded by lilacs and lilies, illuminated by gas lanterns and sunbeams.