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What is your favorite puzzle subject?
Still life 0%
Landscape 50%
Animal 0%
Cartoon character 25%
Pictures? I do them upside down. 25%

Votes: 4

 Thomas Kinkade: Jigsaw Review

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Dec 26, 2001
For whatever reason, Thomas Kinkade is a popular subject for discussion on Adequacy. I, being admittedly unfamiliar with his works was confused by this. Having now spent over an hour staring at one of his works, I feel qualified to write a review.

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My newfound non-conformity
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Like many upstanding American families, mine enjoys jigsaw puzzles. Since my Mother is an admitted Thomas Kinkade fan, my sister got the matriarch a nice set of three Thomas Kinkade jigsaw puzzles (we assembled the puzzle on the left). So I, having only glanced at my Mother's Kinkade lighthouse painting, spent the night watching the painstaking assembly of a Kinkade work.

Some may think that I should review an artwork as it is presented with real paint on real canvas, or at least a high-quality print. But from what I can tell by the mass-produced marketing of Kinkade's art, I think jigsaw puzzle is as valid a medium as any. (Zizak, am I misusing the word "medium"?) A puzzle gives you more time with a work than you might normally spend, and you look closely at every spot from the outside in. And finally, at the end you appreciate the work in its entirety.

I have to say, I didn't like the puzzle. The large fuzzy brushstrokes, and seemingly random placement of red dots was a big turn-off. The lack of any defined lines left me confused as to what I was looking at. Everything seemed to be awash in an annoying glow. The flowers, rather than reminding me of nature, looked like fake plastic flowers made with artificial dyes.

Puzzle-art works best when there are sharp lines and large contrasts that pull the eye away from the seams between the puzzle pieces. But Kinkade's fuzzy, swirling style follows the contours of the pieces, and results in an ill-defined, washed-out mess.

I also learned something while working on this puzzle. My Mother says that Thomas Kinkade does not actually paint his paintings. He makes mass-produced lithographs. Then a gigantic team of painters color it in. She is not sure if they color by numbers, but says that they probably do. She is also not sure if the painters are in sweatshops, are children, are monkeys, or any combination of the three. I am thinking sweaty juvenile monkey-human hybrids. I am wondering if this mass-production scheme is part of why Kinkade gets so much flak from legitimate artists

There are many purposes for art. Something that may be intriguing in a gallery might look ridiculous in a home. Something that might look nice in your parents' bedroom might look confusing on a jigsaw puzzle.

Moral: Thomas Kinkade is over-extending the reach of his art. He should stick to the coffee mugs, nightlights, and inspirational prayer magnets.


Kinkade on Kinkade (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by Skewed Buddhist on Wed Dec 26th, 2001 at 05:10:39 PM PST
The following Kinkade quotes were lifted from an interview with, (I'm using this term loosely) the artist conducted by Christina Waters.

"Humans are essentially idealistic," says Thomas Kinkade, merchant artist, Painter of LightTM;They want to believe that somewhere, just around the bend, is paradise. I provide that paradise."

"Lots of artists have the opinion that publishing your work is selling out," Kinkade says. "They're hung up on the one-of-a-kind thing." Now he's really worked up. "I'm a messenger. You can't be one of a kind when you're a messenger!"

"In a culture of chaos, we need hope," he sermonizes. "On one side there's Jackson Pollock, and way over on the other side there's the Columbine shooting. And I know there's a connection between them. I don't know how, but I know it's there."

"ART SHOULDN'T be about the artist," says Kinkade, "but about them, the people who need the message. It's the artist's responsibility to be accessible."

"It's not about money," he contends. "It's about blessing others with my God-given abilities."

Ten million people own something published by the Painter of LightTM--and, as Kinkade likes to brag, "David Hockney can't say that!"

And lest you think he panders to the lowest common artistic denominator; here's a piercing commentary from one of his biggest fans:

"We like the light part," Sanders explains, "the colors that he uses."

Kinkade's own words prove he's an aberration brought about by the public's unwillingness to be challenged. The fact that he invokes the name of Christ whilst raking in millions speaks volumes about his character.

Iáwould implore all potential Kinkade buyers to save your money by downloading some sort of freeware graphics application, spend 5 minutes mucking about with your favourite image gleaned from the net/magazine/etc., and create your very own masterpiece. An example can be found here. I wonder if I can make a puzzle out of this?

Time wounds all heels - Groucho Marx

Gee. It's true. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by elenchos on Wed Dec 26th, 2001 at 07:01:48 PM PST
I tried it with this beautiful picture of my dog in the park by Patsy Clark's mansion. It's like enslaving Thomas Kinkade himself and putting him to work painting your life.

I can't wait to do more!

I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill

beautiful (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by elby on Thu Dec 27th, 2001 at 05:46:02 AM PST
I'd love to own a certified Dog of Light™ reproduction.


Perhaps... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by elenchos on Thu Dec 27th, 2001 at 03:29:33 PM PST
...for the present we could authorize a loan from the Dog of Lightę Collection, until our full plans are in place for the marketing of Dog of Lightę merchandise. For now print one out, but realize that it will have to be returned to the Dog of Lightę Collection at some future date.

And look for this particular piece to appear on both a mouse pad and a coffee mug very, very soon.

I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill

Thoughts on Colombine (none / 0) (#10)
by error27 on Fri Dec 28th, 2001 at 06:47:10 AM PST
"In a culture of chaos, we need hope," he sermonizes. "On one side there's Jackson Pollock, and way over on the other side there's the Columbine shooting. And I know there's a connection between them. I don't know how, but I know it's there."

Are other people confused by this as well? I allways assumed that everyone knew how Colombine and Pollock were connected. But I guess people are even more niave than I had suspected.

Good God, man! (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by zikzak on Wed Dec 26th, 2001 at 09:57:53 PM PST
Don't drag the rest of us down just because your own family hasn't developed enough of a visual vocabulary to appreciate the subtleties of a Kinkade puzzle!

Perhaps your family is better suited to the simplistic, under-developed stylings of some two-bit hack like Piet Mondrian or Mark Rothko.

Ridiculous and unfair (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Dec 27th, 2001 at 02:37:29 AM PST
I am appalled at the ridiculous and unfair accusations being made here against our country's finest artist, Thomas Kinkade. Allow me to refute some of the blatant untruths being aired here.

First, official Kinkade reproductions are not assembled in some paint-by-numbers sweatshop. Official Kinkade reproductions are done only by highly trained certified Master Highlighters who work on only the finest quality computer-generated lithographs of Kinkades' priceless originals.

Second, it is silly to assume that looking at a pixellated reproduction of a Kinkade original on your computer monitor, or seeing the image of a Kinkade painting on a jigsaw puzzle, is anything like seeing a Kinkade original or Certified Kinkade Reproduction. As with any great artist, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Dante Rosetti, Renoir, Balthus, the beauty and power of Kinkade can only be truly appreciated by someone viewing an original work, or in Kinkade's case, a Certified Reproduction. At the very least, I would suggest that readers seek out a book or magazine containing high-quality photographs of some Kinkades before passing judgement.

Finally, while I realize this is the most controversial site on the internet, I would appreciate if individuals would show a little more respect for others when writing messages to post. While I may disagree with them myself, I would not think of belittling the opinions of those whose ideas of award-winning "great art" consists an empty room with words like shitdribbler, cuntlip, assgas, cockswallower, fuckmouth, buttnuzzler, cousinfucker, shitbag, or twinkiedick spray-painted on the walls (although I remain convinced that even these "postmodern-alternative" types could come to appreciate what Kinkade has accomplished if they would approach his work with an open mind).

Criticizing a puzzle (none / 0) (#7)
by First Incision on Thu Dec 27th, 2001 at 08:27:13 AM PST
You may be right. His art may be better appreciated in the form of paintings. But as far as I can tell, most of the art he sells (and how he sells it seems to be the reason he's so famous) is not in the form of paintings, but in the form of trinkets. While much has been said about Kinkade's skills as a creator of paintings or prints, I think there is still a lot of room for comment on the other half of the stuff he makes.

He sells puzzles in addition to paintings, and I don't think we should just assume he's a master puzzle-smith based on the qualities of his paintings.

I would love to see someone review one of his nightlights. Do they adequately "light the way down a dark hallway?"
Do you suffer from late-night hacking? Ask your doctor about Protonix.

My only problem with Kinkade (none / 0) (#8)
by nx01 on Thu Dec 27th, 2001 at 08:50:34 AM PST
He doesn't seem to have a very wide range of subject matters. Most of his pictures seem to be houses, houses, and more houses. His talent is obvious. He just needs to broaden his horizons.

My idea is to create a limited-run, signed series of America Under Attack 2001 pictures. As an example, I have created the WTC Attack Of Light (tm).

Tom, if you're listening, feel free to use my idea. Share the light!

"Every time I look at the X window system, it's so fucking stupid; and part of me feels responsible for the worst parts of it."
-- James Gosling


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