“A lot of artists really sort of loathe Thomas Kinkade”

Carrie Galbraith

In the SF Chronicle, Julian Guthrie reports that dozens of artists converged on a small underground gallery off a dark and narrow alley in the heart of North Beach on Friday night for a one-night show called “Kinkade Cannibalized! – An Exhibition of Augmented Thomas Kinkade Paintings.”

Kinkade, who calls himself the ‘Painter of Light’ and is said to be the most collected living artist in America, creates images of Christmas chapels dusted in snow, of cottages next to placid lakes, of mountain paradises, of the perfect yellow rose and of pools of serenity. ‘A lot of artists really sort of loathe Thomas Kinkade,’ said Kevin Evans, who curated the show. ‘Not just because of his very simple and extremely idealized and conservative view of the world, but because it’s formulaic painting that creates a static and stagnant image.’

“The show was held in the gallery and studio of longtime San Francisco artist Winston Smith, best known for his collages for musicians and punk artists, including the Dead Kennedys. ‘Kinkade has a formula,’ Smith said, holding court at the back of his studio, behind a draped curtain. ‘The bourgeois attitude that this is art is insulting.’ Sitting nearby was Ron Turner, the founder and publisher of Last Gasp comic books. Turner, who was one of the first publishers to feature the work of the now widely known illustrator R. Crumb, said he also has published a book on Kinkade’s work.

“‘I’m not anti-Kinkade,’ Turner said. ‘I think he gets under everyone’s skin because he glorifies the fairy tale. Kinkade is a master marketer, and I think the idealizing of the images is Kinkade’s own inside joke.'”

Kinkade Cannibalized!” curated by Kevin Evans. Winston Smith�s Grant�s Tomb Gallery, San Francisco CA. Artists  included Tara Evans, Kevin Evans, David Ewald, Richard Fong, Carrie Galbraith, Marsha Grant, Margaret Griffis, Steven Johnson Leyba, Stuart Mangrum, Michelle Mangrum, Suzanne Onodera, Winston Smith, Spence Snyder, Kevin Soderlund


  1. I'm totally anti-Kinkade. He is a master of shlock and an example of everything wrong with "public" taste. It's all about the bland.

    Sounds like it was a fun, fun, show.

  2. I once read a creditable critic's take on Kinkaid, linking him to Norman Rockwell. Too bad for Rockwell. Can't find it now, but I did find these gems that you may enjoy.

    From McSweeney's, a faux critique:

    "Melancholia also marks his first use of mixed media, as Kinkade placed throughout the painting dozens of tiny dollar bills he'd made from legal tender. His decision to have Christ spew these bills from his gaping wound while a money-hungry crowd tears itself apart at the foot of the cross is also notable."

    and from Salon:

  3. Kinkade's work is all about craft, and not even good craft. I don't consider it art. I totally agree with Patrice's comment about public taste, or lack thereof.

    I don't personally have a problem with Kinkade, as I don't even know the person behind the work, and I refuse to speculate. The problem is that his work and that of similarly-directed craftspeople, is perceived by the general public- the average American, if you will- to be fine art.

  4. kinkade must be the new jeff koons: people are going out of their way to dislike him; so it appears whatever he's doing is working. i find indifference to be better.
    don't sf artists have more important things to think about? obviously not.

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