The Painter of Trite

April 8, 2012

I know it’s been a little while since I’ve written anything here on the “blog” part of my website. Frankly, however, I was starting to get tired of having the Andrew Breitbart thing there at the top of the page, so I thought I’d bump it down some by posting about another dead asshole, the “painter” (in the same sense that Skrillex is a “musician”) Thomas Kinkade, who died this weekend of “natural causes.”

Again, I know it’s often considered bad taste to say not-nice things about the recently departed, but seeing as how Mr. Kinkade’s multi-million dollar empire was built upon a foundation of bad taste, in this case it seems rather fitting.

Reading Kinkade’s Wikipedia page the other day, I came upon this quote that made my skin crawl:

There’s been million-seller books and million-seller CDs. But there hasn’t been, until now, million-seller art. We have found a way to bring to millions of people, an art that they can understand.

I’ll admit I have a tendency to wax sanctimonious when it comes to this subject, but artistic integrity is something I happen to feel strongly about, so sue me. It should always, always be about the art first. I don’t begrudge anyone for being financially successful as an artist; if people like what you create so much that they’re willing to pay for it, more power to you. But when making money is your primary motivation, and you’re more than willing to compromise whatever principles you may or may not have had to begin with in order to maximize your profit potential, then we have a problem. The above quote is wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. First and foremost, Kinkade cavalierly admits that he’s only in it to make dump truck loads of cash. Second, he acts as if he’s somehow doing the world a favor by spreading his kitschy bullshit into every kitchen and bathroom in middle America. And last, but certainly not least, he backhandedly insults his audience (although I’m not saying he’s necessarily wrong on this point) by suggesting that they’re so backwards and provincial they need their art to be significantly dumbed down so they can comprehend it.

Obviously, I’m not saying Thomas Kinkade deserved to die just because his pictures suck. But let’s be honest, did the world really need another pastel painting of a fucking lighthouse?