When Entrepreneurs Foul Their Nests
When Your Name Is on Everything, You Can't Be Too Careful
March 30, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 25
IN THE NEWS
Dark clouds gather over 'Painter of Light'
Entrepreneur artist who hangs in one in 20 US homes accused of fraud and drunken antics
Art critics have long dismissed [Thomas Kinkade's] work as a kitsch crime against aesthetics. But now the world has grown even more "unsympathetic and complex" for the artist, who describes himself as a devout Christian and has trademarked his "Painter of Light" sobriquet. In court documents and other testimony, he has been accused of sexual harassment, fraudulent business practices and bizarre incidents of drunkenness including a habit of "ritual territory marking" that involves urinating in public places.
—Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian (UK), March 25, 2006
The selling of fine art—finding one buyer for one work of art—is the ultimate business challenge.
Actually, two art markets exist. The first is for the very rich—the world of Sotheby's, Christie's, the Armory Antiques Show and the hotshot galleries of Madison Avenue, Chicago's Magnificent Mile and the Santa Fe Arts Trail.
For the rest of us, the individual artist's reach has been extended through the invention of "multiple-originals"—limited-edition, signed prints, etchings, drypoints, offset lithographs, posters, mezzotints and intaglios.
Over the last 40 years, two world famous artists with massive marketing machines behind them have dominated the world of multiple originals—Thomas Kinkade and Salvador Dali.
One is currently in serious trouble.
The other gave new meaning to the term "rip-off artist."
"There's over 40 walls in the average American home," a business manager for the artist Thomas Kinkade once said, "and Thom says our job is to figure out how to populate every single wall in every single home and every single business throughout the world with his paintings."