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Art vs. "Wall Decor",
This review is from: Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall (Paperback)
In my opinion, Mr. Kinkade falls squarely into the "wall decor" camp. For some reason, most people can't abide unadorned interior spaces. Consequently, there are millions of painters generating mountains of images designed to match the drapes and sofas for those people who feel an empty wall is somehow cheap and tacky. As long as one of these painters meets or exceeds the minimum set of 'artistic' requirements as perceived by their audience, then whatever success and popularity they enjoy is a result of marketing. Kinkade's biggest business strategy by far has been exploiting Christians --niche marketing at it's finest.
The irony is that Kinkade's work created during the 1980's was much more subtle, more skilled and less garish than what followed once the publicly traded marketing machine went into overdrive. His early plein air paintings are no better or worse than what one might see in a lot of museums. But like most painters, Kinkade reached the proverbial "fork in the road" ..and he chose to sell his soul for fame among fools and a fast buck. And each new painting thereafter shows the effect of his chasing an audience instead of letting them find him. Each new work seemed created to pander to whatever sub-niche he had yet to exploit.
Kinkade's popularity peaked some time ago and seems to be steadily contracting. He hasn't been an on-air vendor with the QVC shopping channel for years and only has a few token pieces on their website. During the years 1997 through 2005, court documents reportedly show "at least 350 independently owned Kincade franchises at peak. By May, 2005, that number had more than halved." Sites like eBay greatly undermined the much touted "investment" potential of his reproductions by demonstrating where the market for them really is. To be sure, only a tiny fraction of his collectors are likely to buy and read this or any other book on art or criticism.
Kinkade will never likely be considered among the company of great artists even though he could probably buy and sell many of them.
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Initial post: Jul 27, 2012 5:00:58 PM PDT
Randy S provides us with an essay, not a book review. He seems to tendentiously think that his view of Kinkade is more important than that of the essayists in the book under consideration. Personally I am only interested in those people's opinions.
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