Artist Thomas Kinkade dies at 54, Kinkade grew up in Placerville
Born in Placerville, California, an old gold rush town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and educated at the University of California, Berkeley, Kinkade built an unparalleled art empire, his works distributed through about 4,500 art dealers, according to a 2002 interview he gave to the San Jose Mercury News newspaper.
Kinkade claimed to be America’s most collected living artist, his prints hanging on the walls of an estimated 10 million Americans. A Christian who often depicted scenes from the Bible, Kinkade was known to dress as Santa Claus each Christmas and ride around Los Gatos on a motorcycle to deliver gifts, according to the Mercury News.
Kinkade, who trademarked the moniker “Painter of Light,” called himself a “warrior for light” in the Mercury News interview. “With whatever talent and resources I have, I’m trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel.”
Associated Press, Apr. 6, 2012
Artist Thomas Kinkade, whose brushwork paintings of idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches have been big sellers for dealers across the United States, died Friday, a family spokesman said.
Kinkade, 54, died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, David Satterfield said.
Kinkade's sentimental paintings, with their scenes of country gardens and churches in dewy morning light, were beloved by middlebrow America but reviled by the art establishment. He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States.
His paintings generally depict tranquil scenes with lush landscaping and streams running nearby. Many contain images from Bible passages.
"I'm a warrior for light," Kinkade, a self-described devout Christian, told the San Jose Mercury News in 2002, in reference to the medieval practice of using light to symbolize the divine. "With whatever talent and resources I have, I'm trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel."
Before Kinkade's Media Arts Group went private in the middle of the past decade, the company took in $32 million per quarter from 4,500 dealers across the country 10 years ago, according to the Mercury News. The cost of his paintings range from hundreds of dollars to more than $10,000.
A biography on his website states that Kinkade rejected "the intellectual isolation of the artist" and instead, made "each of his works an intimate statement that resonates in the personal lives of his viewers."
"I share something in common with Norman Rockwell and, for that matter, with Walt Disney," he said. "In that I really like to make people happy."
Kinkade was born and raised in the Placerville, Calif. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
"Thom provided a wonderful life for his family," his wife, Nanette, said in a statement. "We are shocked and saddened by his death."
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/06/4397030/kinkade-dies.html