Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Thomas Kinkade: The Painter of Light

I don't know if I had too many mimosa's to drink this New Year's Day, or what, but I just caught Thomas Kinkade, the kitschy "painter of light" on TBN where he was giving an interview about his art, and it kind of blew me away. For years I have had an intense loathing of this man and his work, but now I feel like I understand it it a bit better. Before I go any further, though, I have to confess that once in a while I do watch TBN just to see what's on. As it happened, I was watching the papal mass at St. Peter's and got bored with it for a minute, so I checked TBN (ahhh, isn't postmodern American TV amazing?), that's when I saw Kinkade, whom the interviewer kept referring to as a "young man" (he's not young), sitting there in a beret of all things, waxing eloquent about art. The amazing thing was that he was quite articulate, and had a very definite philosophy about his art. When asked about the relevance of painting today he spoke briefly about the sacramental nature of art, and the power of the still image. Though he didn't use the word "sacramental" that is exactly what he was saying: God communicates His grace to use through inanimate objects. He gave the example of Paul's handkerchief in Acts 19:11-12. So I was shocked. I don't care for his art, though he is indeed a good painter. I don't like his mass marketing style or commercialism either. But he obviously believes strongly in what he does and sees it as his ministry and calling, and I think he does have integrity as an artist. If you can see his interview check it out. I think it may air again.

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