But is it Art?

April 18, 2012



Thomas Kinkade died on April 7th, and while I certainly hadn’t thought about him in quite sometime, I immediately became transported to a bower of flowers, gently puffing chimneys and picket fences, and more pastel flowers. Vivid reds would be too jarring. Henri Matisse observed that “There is an inherent truth, which must be disengaged from the outward appearance of the object to be represented. This is the only truth that matters … exactitude is not truth.”


In 2004 John Turner interviewed Kinkade, who set the table by introducing himself as one who “Grew up in a dreamlike world. I lived in the classic American town, Placerville, California. I fell in love with my childhood sweetheart. We have four wonderful girls.” He explained that, “I paint the rituals of home, family, faith and God, the beauty of nature and a simpler way of living. It’s comfort art. It’s art that creates a state of emotional repose. The paintings are a companion for your daily life.  People want to come home to them like would want to come home to an easy chair that’s comfortable.” And he extends his analogy when he quotes Henri Matisse saying “a good painting should be like an easy chair for the eye.”


Maybe our Founder Robert Williams summed it up best in an editorial 12 years ago when he actually came to the defense of Mr. Kinkade. Robert who declares that his art is a painting you DON’T want on your living room wall, maintains that artists in Juxtapoz were outlaw artists and had to stand on the same stage as Kinkade, and that his art was as good as any other, albeit a style that functions best with colonial revival furniture. But he is as important as anyone.”


The purpose and meaning of art can be parsed and debated. Is Art mirror or refuge, can it be both? It can be open to all kinds of interpretation, and it opens up all manner of discussion. Is your universe expanding or receiving? For that matter, do art classes fit into the currernt school curriculum of test taking?


Juxtapoz is for art makers, art lovers and the just plain curious. Thomas Kinkade’s palette is lucrative and beloved and no art magazine is above or beyond those colors.