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Thomas Kinkade


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#21 techne

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 01:19 AM

oh yeah? well, maybe you're just too obssessed with the cake metaphor to let it breathe and i'm too attached to it to let it go. let's just say that i do actually agree with you about what [i insist, the best] art does, i just don't think that all art created by artists functions in that way, or at that level. art often doesn't fire on all cylinders. which is a shame. i just know that where i stand (fine arts degree, exhibiting for 10+ years, working in a public art gallery) art iso ften not what i think it could (and should) be - it simply isn't up to my standards. i think art should challenge, provoke, think, feel, awake, etc. again, some art does it more forcefully. more effectively. but even art that doesn't measure up to my own particluar standards often does do those things. so i'm just trying to leave some room for the possibility that there must be something there somewhere. there must be some 'art-ness' there. there must be something communicated or affirmed somehow. and i think that sometimes art can re-affirm ideas that don't change us or may encourage us or sedate us, which makes it a poor example of what art could be. but i realize i'm repeating myself. i need to go install an exhibition of experimental ceramics tomorrow, so adieu.

and by communication i don't mean information or didacticism.

paragraphs? but i thought i had sent a paragraph!

one last question (and maybe this should be another thread): i'm wondering which art pieces have done those things to you that you propose all Art should do - "[it] provokes you to think, to explore, to feel, to realize, to consider, to change", and how? and how much art is then outside of your circle? or are the edges permeable?

#22 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 01:43 AM

mrmando wrote:
: And, finally: Paragraphs are your friends. They help to make the difference between
: self-expression and communication, if you get my drift.

Nice. smile.gif

#23 jfutral

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 08:32 AM

QUOTE(techne @ Jul 6 2005, 02:19 AM)
i just don't think that all art created by artists functions in that way, or at that level. art often doesn't fire on all cylinders. which is a shame.

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(Speaking of chimp art:

http://news.yahoo.co...n_050621095846)

I agree. Not all art an artist creates will be great. Not all of Alvin Ailey's work approaches the explosion of _Revelations_. Sometimes (often?) an artist has to go through an awful lot of chaff to get to that gem. Or at least with some artists' chaff you still get a sense of process when you look at it as a body of work. It just seems that Kinkade has decided that the chaff _is_ the gem.

Not to be harsh. OK, maybe I do mean to be harsh. It seems if the only way for us to understand Kinkade's meaning to his madness, or at least come up with something of our own other than commercialism, is for him to explain it to us (such as with the interview posted by Christian or here, http://www.christian.../014/6.48.html), he missed the boat somewhere.

I suppose the same could be said for van Gogh. But then his art wasn't all that popular when he was alive. Or maybe it was just Gauguin who ridiculed his work.

Anyway, I do think there is a tremendous difference between an artist who is trying to make money being an artist and crass commercialism. Kinkade's work falls into the latter for me.

Balanchine's _Nutcracker_ is good example of commercially viable art. Unarguably a tremendous commercial success. It is the financial cornerstone of many dance comapnies. And though it may be sometimes hard these days to see past that, there is a tremendous amount of Art still there.

Joe

#24 mrmando

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 03:28 PM

Don't worry, techne, I think we actually agree but have been talking past each other. I was using "art" and "Art" interchangeably and should not have done so.

I didn't mean, for example, to imply that I didn't think Rubens was an artist. There are probably a lot of people who would find great meaning in that roomful of Rubens at the Louvre. I might even find it myself if I took time to learn a little more about the artist and about those particular paintings.

And now that I have calmed down I do see the point of your cake analogy. We all know there's no such thing as a perfect analogy. Can we agree that Kinkade is serving up a steady diet of supermarket sheet cake? Is he perhaps an artist who aspires to create art but not Art?

Paragraphs provide "breathing room" (another imperfect analogy). They allow the eye to rest for a moment and the brain to process the thoughts at hand before going on. Just as the composition of a painting is wrecked when you crowd the canvas with too many details, so too a written composition is marred when it contains no paragraph breaks.

When I say "expression" I hope it's clear that the term encompasses "self-expression." Some bit of ego in a work is not only permissible but almost unavoidable. Rembrandt, Velazquez, Michelangelo all slipped self-portaits into some unlikely places. Even in Serrano's case, those are his bodily fluids, darn it. But we all know that pure self-expression is the most tedious form of art in existence.

#25 techne

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:03 PM

well, okay. it's usually a matter of defining terms. i just don't really have much time for the distinction between art and Art. i think it's all art, just that some of it is, in fact, better. more realized. more art-full. but i will acknowledge that what you mean by Art is simply what i mean by many-layered and rich. a mouthful of art.

and i think that the distinction between expression - conveying meaning and self-expression - which, rather than conveying one's own meaning, seems to be more often about therapy and indulgence and not really about communicating something - is actually crucial to define.

and i also don't think popularity or the lack of it has any bearing on whether something is art or not. there is, after all, no accounting for taste (though hopefully one can grow new tastebuds). some very good art is appreciated even by the masses (though perhaps not always on all the levels an artist might hope) and some very bad art is unconscionably popular (left behind or precious moments, anyone?). sad, but true.

i also consider the fact that a lot of the baggage we have about art is cultural and very much predicated by romanticism and modernist philosophy. the artist as genius, an original, as a unique individual who bucks the status quo, as seer. there are some elements of truth to those tropes, but the larger history of artists doesn't dwell on those ideas. the framework for artists has been that they find their meaning and purpose within the context of a community, with whom they share a language, and whose lives they enrich with their offerings. after all, it wasn't really until the 18th century that the distinction between arts and crafts, and then fine arts versus illustration or graphic arts really began to take hold, and that along with the concomitant idea of the artistic genius. which we have applied back through history retroactively when it was less of an issue. we have our own lenses. and not that i think there is a purer way to be an artist and make art, but i think some of those ideas are interesting to consider, especially within today's global visual market and economy.

but all this circling around got me thinkin'. i was thinking about all the various ways all the various types of people with all their various backgrounds and differing levels of knowledge about art and was wondering if there are ways of defining art that isn't so dependent on the viewer's response(s)? characteristics of art, hallmarks of art. here's what i've started with:

1. skill, or ability to express visually what it is they are trying to convey - i think this would encompass elements of art such as colour, gesture, composition...

2. intentionality, or purposeful use of their artistic vocabulary (would consciousness of making be better? i think this would include choices artists can make on such elements such as presentation, style, scale...

3. creativity, or ability to infuse old dried up symbols with new and unexpected meanings or resonances or allusion...

i know these are general, but i don't think we can measure creativity itself - though perhaps the question of how the artist shifts how we perceive something should be a hallmark, it just begs the question of how much a shift it needs to be? and one man's shift is another man's dishrag...any thoughts? do we need venn diagrams or pie charts?

knowledge and information about the artist and style and technique and cultural context can enrich our experience of the artwork, but it must speak to us on its own terms first and foremost. it has to have strength in its bones.

i just find that often kinkade is an easy target, perhaps one that is more indicative of a general shallowness within the christian sub-culture, which his work in some ways re-affirms. his art does what it does, and does it well. it just isn't very good, or rich, or lasting, or interesting. he has one note, but he has a note. the painter of light? i think ross bleckner is a painter of light. or rembrandt, natch. or vija celmins. but they have light with metaphorical weight, not a veneer. or sean scully (who once said, "to invest a brushstroke with emotion or meaning is a desperate thing"). give me ann hamilton any day (though many may not think her work is art-full). or antony gormley. or annette messager. or hieronymus bosch. or van eyck. or matthias gruenwald. or even andres serrano.

stpo. now, breathe.

#26 mrmando

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:25 PM

Good observations all round. I refer you to Jacques Maritain's Art and Scholasticism (quoted in my sig), which might provide some of the definitions you are looking for. A brief book, but so densely packed with life-changing ideas that I could read only about a page and a half at at time.

#27 jfutral

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:17 PM

QUOTE(techne @ Jul 6 2005, 10:03 PM)
i just find that often kinkade is an easy target, perhaps one that is more indicative of a general shallowness within the christian sub-culture, which his work in some ways re-affirms. his art does what it does, and does it well. it just isn't very good, or rich, or lasting, or interesting. he has one note, but he has a note. the painter of light? i think ross bleckner is a painter of light. or rembrandt, natch. or vija celmins. but they have light with metaphorical weight, not a veneer. or sean scully (who once said, "to invest a brushstroke with emotion or meaning is a desperate thing"). give me ann hamilton any day (though many may not think her work is art-full). or antony gormley. or annette messager. or hieronymus bosch. or van eyck. or matthias gruenwald. or even andres serrano.

stpo. now, breathe.

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Kinkade may do one thing very well, but that doesn't mean what he does is Art or even art. In as much as it is painting it is "art", hard to escape that, but it seems to me more about entertainment or recreation than art.

I like the Mamet quote tctruffin has in his(?) signature. I think it has relevance here:

"I like mass entertainment. I've written mass entertainment. But it's the opposite of art because the job of mass entertainment is to cajole, seduce and flatter consumers to let them know that what they thought was right is right, and that their tastes and their immediate gratification are of the utmost concern of the purveyor. The job of the artist, on the other hand, is to say, wait a second, to the contrary, everything that we have thought is wrong. Let's reexamine it."
--David Mamet, Salon.com

Glenn Kaiser has been saying lately (at least from what I've heard him say) that by default the artist is the modern day prophet. I think this is similar to Mamet.


Your criteria reminds me of Francis Schaeffer's four "standards of judgement" in his second essay in _Art and the Bible_: 1) technical excellence, 2) validity, 3) intellectual content, the world view which comes through and 4) the integration of content and vehicle.

While I find this and your list a very useful way to examine art and artists, I do not believe that you can use these criteria as the definition of art. I cannot see how one can avoid the affect of the viewer for the definition of art, especially if you echo Mamet's thoughts.

I partially agree with Mamet. Or maybe I'm not thinking of it deeply enough (wouldn't be the first time.) I do agree that good art can make me reconsider something. I also believe that good art can make me think further about something. Not so much that what I thought was wrong, but maybe what I thought was incomplete. Such as when a director stages a very intimate scene between two people with the actors on either side of the stage (and pull it off, of course). That played with my head for a long time!

We had a discussion similar to this at a Georgia dance panel meeting. Many there wanted to create an organization that supports all dance in Georgia. But some of us (can you tell which side I was on?) argued that "dance" in Georgia is fine. There is dance everywhere. Dance as _art_ in Georgia is what is having difficulty garnering support. The potential organization needed to focus its energy on a particular form/expression of dance. While there is benefit in people understanding dance in any form, certainly because of the person having a relational point of reference to help them understand what we are doing, we have to recognize that we have a different purpose than recreational dance.

Joe

Edited by jfutral, 06 July 2005 - 11:19 PM.


#28 glow

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 03:51 PM

QUOTE(CrimsonLine @ Oct 19 2004, 05:00 PM) View Post

Even with the brevity of that article, one gets the impression that the author was padding to fill space. While I resonate with what he says, it's a poorly-written piece.

To play Kincade's advocate for a minute, though - no painter paints the totality of human existence. No artist can even hope to capture "life as it really is". Someone (I wish I could attribute the quote, I use it all the time) said that all art is primarily selection. At most, an artist strives to accurately portray a slice of life - a brief perspective on life. OR, perhaps more precisely, to innacurately portray a slice of life - to exaggerate or distort a slice of life so as to show it for what it really is under the skin.

While I agree with the author - Kincade's work strikes me as saccharine, too - I wonder sometimes if that's a fault of mine and not Kincade's. I went through America's art instruction meat grinder. I absorbed many of the art world's prejudices and cynicism. If Kincade is trying to portray the good, or the pure, and through it to induce longing, maybe it's the jaded, fallen part of me that's reacting against it. The part of me that rankles at the thought of goodness and purity. The part of me that is comfortable in sin, and uncomfortable around righteousness. Dr. David Wells defines "worldliness" as that system around us that makes evil seem normal and righteousness seem odd. Maybe my artistic tastes are too "worldly" to appreciate Kincade's work.

But then again, theologically it's impossible for Kincade's work to be unfallen, even if it might be redeemed. Perhaps what rankles is not goodness, but the facade of false righteousness. Since it cannot possibly BE purely good, perhaps it rings false when he tries to pass it off as purely good.

I don't know. I do know that I grow uncomfortable whenever we trendy folks cast scorn on brothers in Christ for being un-hip. That elitist sense of "I'm in the in crowd, I've got taste and style" often defines itself by excluding others, putting them down. We in the art community are perhaps most prone to this sin. I try always to root it out in myself, and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, I believe there is such a thing as objectively good art - there is a hierarchy of value in art that is not purely a matter of preference. So, I get hung on the horns of my own dilemma. My petard is a-hoisting. Who can rescue me from this body of death??



QUOTE(CrimsonLine @ Oct 19 2004, 05:00 PM) View Post

Even with the brevity of that article, one gets the impression that the author was padding to fill space. While I resonate with what he says, it's a poorly-written piece.

To play Kincade's advocate for a minute, though - no painter paints the totality of human existence. No artist can even hope to capture "life as it really is". Someone (I wish I could attribute the quote, I use it all the time) said that all art is primarily selection. At most, an artist strives to accurately portray a slice of life - a brief perspective on life. OR, perhaps more precisely, to innacurately portray a slice of life - to exaggerate or distort a slice of life so as to show it for what it really is under the skin.

While I agree with the author - Kincade's work strikes me as saccharine, too - I wonder sometimes if that's a fault of mine and not Kincade's. I went through America's art instruction meat grinder. I absorbed many of the art world's prejudices and cynicism. If Kincade is trying to portray the good, or the pure, and through it to induce longing, maybe it's the jaded, fallen part of me that's reacting against it. The part of me that rankles at the thought of goodness and purity. The part of me that is comfortable in sin, and uncomfortable around righteousness. Dr. David Wells defines "worldliness" as that system around us that makes evil seem normal and righteousness seem odd. Maybe my artistic tastes are too "worldly" to appreciate Kincade's work.

But then again, theologically it's impossible for Kincade's work to be unfallen, even if it might be redeemed. Perhaps what rankles is not goodness, but the facade of false righteousness. Since it cannot possibly BE purely good, perhaps it rings false when he tries to pass it off as purely good.

I don't know. I do know that I grow uncomfortable whenever we trendy folks cast scorn on brothers in Christ for being un-hip. That elitist sense of "I'm in the in crowd, I've got taste and style" often defines itself by excluding others, putting them down. We in the art community are perhaps most prone to this sin. I try always to root it out in myself, and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, I believe there is such a thing as objectively good art - there is a hierarchy of value in art that is not purely a matter of preference. So, I get hung on the horns of my own dilemma. My petard is a-hoisting. Who can rescue me from this body of death??
Being a Christian who tries to display some of who I am under God through my art, , I have to say I really like your viewpoint on artists and how you judge them. I like the honesty and balance of yourself and trying to be straight forward with God basic system of judgment for us vs the worlds beliefs.
Cool.

#29 CrimsonLine

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 09:01 AM

Thanks, Glow. Welcome to A&F!

#30 Darrel Manson

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 06:43 PM

Kincade's company not quite up and up with gallery owners

#31 Denny Wayman

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:23 PM

Reading that article reminds me of a gift of a Kinkade painting that one of our members gave us a few years ago. It was clear that the salesperson had convinced them that purchasing it and giving it to us as their pastor was somehow a "spiritual act."

Denny


#32 Jason Bortz

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 04:45 PM

Lame.

Sad and lame.

#33 Jason Bortz

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 05:28 PM

Suuuuuuuuure. Make us register, yes?

Takin' the mark of the Beast, are we? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

#34 Jason Bortz

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 10:51 AM

Whoaaaaa, cool bypass site! Thanks!

#35 Chashab

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 09:01 PM

For what it's worth in a mostly quiet thread:

I've kept track of Kinkade a little for a number of years now, and this is my own deduction (though I haven't had the privilege of meeting and interviewing him).

An artist has the right to portray any subject matter (WITHOUT getting into any moral/amoral/consequences debate). Kinkade can paint what he likes and why he likes. I won't fault him on this.

From other interviews I've read I think his subject matter is a bit of a displacement. Some of his earlier work was much more explorative, as some of this thread has shown. But from things he has said about his college days I have wondered if he isn't using this glorified sentimentality to cover up some bad feelings.

I think he is more of a marketer than an artist. And I find it interesting he's proffering all of these prints in galleries across the country when he claims to be living the simple life. And this is just my idea of a simple life, but in a "simple life" I don't see people hanging mass-produced reproductions on their walls. Just an observation . . .

So to conclude:

He can paint whatever he likes
He might be using mushy subject matter to cover up old hurt feelings

Edited by Chashab, 27 April 2006 - 02:24 PM.


#36 Chashab

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 07:35 AM

QUOTE(nardis @ Apr 26 2006, 10:18 PM) View Post

But he's still downright creepy when it comes to his attitudes toward women! ninja.gif


Hmm. That I haven't heard anything about . . . did I miss something above in this thread?

#37 Chashab

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 09:00 AM

I read this article with this quote over the weekend:

Along with committing themselves to education and training in craft, artists who pursue making serious art must also commit themselves to setting aside commercial success as the primary goal of their artmaking.

Made me think of Kinkade . . .

#38 techne

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 10:26 PM

emphasis on primary...

#39 Chashab

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 02:13 PM

QUOTE(techne @ Jul 3 2006, 10:26 PM) View Post

emphasis on primary...


I guess my implication made an assumption that I actually know what's going through his head. He may actually be this successful and not be (primarily) after commercial success dry.gif

Um, but, for some reason I really doubt that's the case.


#40 Chashab

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 05:49 PM

QUOTE(nardis @ Jul 4 2006, 05:08 PM) View Post

I think your doubts are well-founded, Chashab. post-71492-1120849830.gif (the goldfish is for random silliness; for some reason I can't take things too seriously today!)


ha-HA!

Goldfish approved. We all need such lighthearted days from time to time.