When Entrepreneurs Foul Their Nests
—Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian (UK), March 25, 2006
It has been estimated that Kinkade's work hangs in one out of 20 U.S. homes and is very likely the world's most collected living artist. Calling himself the "Painter of Light," Kinkade is loved for his soft-hued paintings of town and country scenes and America's wilderness—often enveloped in mist or fog that implies the Holy Spirit is among us—and his patriotic themes make the wings of the eagle flutter.
Kinkade's official Web site describes him as "a devoted husband and doting father to their four daughters" and extols his devout Christianity. In a 2004 video, he said, "When I got saved, God became my art agent."
A look inside Kinkade's marketing apparatus was found in Oliver Burkeman's Guardian (UK) story of March 25, 2006:
The cost of a Kinkade print changes depending on whether it is on paper or on canvas, and unsigned or signed; certain versions are "retired" from the market at critical moments to give them scarcity value. A team of "master illuminators" at Kinkade's galleries charge yet more to add real paint to his prints, enhancing his trademark glowing light effect on works with names such as Sunset on Lamplight Lane and Cobblestone Christmas. The pictures are also available in numerous other forms, printed on teddy bears, cushions, lounger chairs, T-shirts and Bible covers.
In February 2006, Kinkade's company was ordered by a three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association to pony up $860,000 as payment for defrauding the owners of two Thomas Kinkade galleries in Virginia. The panel found that his firm breached "the covenant of good faith and dealing" by painting "an unrealistic and misleading picture of the prospects of success for a dealer." Kinkade came out the victor in two other claims, but six more are pending.