Thomas Kinkade Biography
Thomas Kinkade is the Most Renowned Modern Artist
With a worldwide audience, Thomas Kinkade is widely considered to be the most well-known and renowned modern artist of his age. Because art is such a personal endeavor, generating such intense and varying opinions, this fact alone makes Kinkade deserving of a second look. Where exactly did the "Painter of Light" come from? What makes his work so compelling? What parts of the Thomas Kinkade made the man into a master?
Like many successful men, Kinkade had a rocky childhood, fraught with adversity. Thomas Kinkade was born in Sacramento, California on January 18, 1958. He spent much of his growing up years, however, in the tiny town of Placerville. At the tender age of four years old, his parents divorced, leaving Thomas with the stigma associated with broken families in the 1960s. Thomas was drawn to art from his very earliest years; his parents' divorce, however, became the catalyst that caused the young man to grab onto this talent as a way to stand out positively with his peers. In a way, art was the shield that Thomas used to protect himself from his home life of poverty and uncertainty. Luckily, his parents did not discourage the young man's endeavors.
Kinkade Makes His Mark
Upon graduating from high school, Thomas Kinkade enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, followed by his attendance at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. During this time, he drew strength from several mentors, both living and dead. Kinkade always admitted a heavy influence from the culturally iconic art of Norman Rockwell. He was also guided along his professional journey by the artist Glenn Wessels, whose advice and influence remained throughout Kinkade's high school and college years.
Thomas Kinkade began his career as a visionary, when shortly after college graduation, he made a cross-country journey with an artist friend. Thomas and James Gurney boarded a train and made a leisurely trip to New York City, sketching the scenery as they traveled. Upon their arrival in New York, Kinkade and his traveling partner approached the publishing home of Kinkade's idol, Normal Rockwell. They plugged their book of sketches, which Waton Guptill agreed to publish in 1982. This not only put the men's names in the public eye, but also landed them jobs with a film company.
On His Own
While working in film was an interesting pursuit, it wasn't what Thomas wanted to do long-term. During the same time period that his sketch book was published, Thomas married his wife Nanette, who not only blessed him with four daughters, but became his business partner and cheerleader as well. After just a few years of married life, they launched Kinkade's private art career in 1984, creating not only the flavor that has made Kinkade famous, but also the business model that has turned his images in to a multi-million-dollar commodity for the couple. Unlike many artists who spurn the commercialization of their art, Kinkade has embraced the opportunity to expose the masses to his work. He not only sells originals for top dollar, but his reproductions can be found at venues ranging from dealers such as World-Wide-Art.com to the greeting card rack at local Walmarts across the nation. There is also a chain of Thomas Kinkade art gallery franchises. In 2006, franchise owners sued Media Arts Group, Inc. for unethical business practices, just one of many incidences of controversy surrounding Kinkade, his art and his business ethics. Still, Thomas Kinkade maintains a large and loyal fan base.
The Painter of Light
While Thomas is certainly a talented artist, he is best known for how this talents translate on a canvas. Thomas Kinkade paints with oils and infuses all his works with a luminescent quality that reaches out and grabs viewers. Instead of getting caught up in the intellectual aspect of art, Kinkade is happy to paint what the people want, much like his childhood influence Norman Rockwell. He also includes personal touches and details that collectors love to look for. In most of his paintings, for example, viewers can hunt for evidence of his wife and children, often included as their initials. Thomas Kinkade's Christian faith is also a widely used theme in the paintings, with some works being based solely upon favorite scriptures or spiritual concepts. Most of the artist's subjects, however, are nostalgic country scenes featuring landscapes, cottages and bridges. Each painting is infused with a light that seems to shine from within the work, making this the signature feature of all of Kinkade's canvasses; he paints to create a feeling in his audience. Some critics, however, feel that Kinkade's nostalgia sometimes glosses over tragedy that may be hidden in scenes of perfection.
Kinkade's Art Supports a Good Cause
Like many successful public figures, Thomas Kinkade uses his notoriety to support causes and organizations in which he believes. His work and business interests actively promote his Christian belief system. He regularly works to raise funds for organizations as varied as the Salvation Army, Make-a-Wish Foundation and Art for Children Charities. His projects with the Salvation Army have been particularly notable, with the donated original works raising significant monies for projects such as 9/11 relief efforts. His charitable efforts were recognized by the Points of Light Foundation in 2005, who named Kinkade their Ambassador of Light. Many individual works of art by Thomas Kinkade have also generated awards, both by charitable and commercial organizations.
World Wide Art is known for its wide selection of limited edition prints by renowned artists, including the luminescent works of Thomas Kinkade. Their expert staff also specializes in custom conservation framing. In business since 1996, World Wide Art, Inc. is located in the San Francisco bay area and is a well-known art shop for both serious collectors and casual decorators. The staff at World-Wide-Art.com not only deals art, but are collectors and artists themselves who consider their work a labor of love and lifestyle of art appreciation.