Sunday, September 10, 2006

Scammer Of Light

Mwahahahaha!!! Um, I mean, rather, that I take no pleasure in the misfortunes of others...

*unsuccessfully attempts to compose self*
Painting cute country cottages so kitschy they make art critics cringe doesn't usually bring you a knock on the door from the FBI.

But the feds are investigating America's best-selling artist, wholesome Christian painter Thomas Kinkade, whose mass-produced work is sold in stores in malls across the nation.

The FBI has been talking to dealers who say Kinkade played on their Christian faith to rope them into investing in franchise stores only to bankrupt them with company policies that severely restricted how they could sell the prints and ordered them to keep opening more stores.

A judge in California awarded $860,000 this year to two of the dealers, and dozens more have since come forward to complain.

But that's only part of the growing shadow looming over the phenomenally popular "Painter of Light," whose work hangs on an estimated 10 million suburban living room walls and who is building an empire to rival Martha Stewart's.

A Michigan lawyer plans to file two class-action lawsuits this month on behalf of collectors who bought Kinkade's dreamy, inspirational landscapes and shareholders in his company. Lawyer Norman Yatooma is also filing a civil racketeering case alleging Kinkade's company destroyed documents and bought off witnesses.

"I'm a person of faith myself, and I'm really disturbed by Kinkade's use of Jesus to perpetrate a scam," said Yatooma, who said he's been contacted by the FBI. "There are a lot of unhappy people out there who invested several hundred thousand dollars under the inducement of sharing God's light, while at the same time making money.


John Vassallo, who owns the five New York-area Thomas Kinkade Signature Galleries, scoffed at the attacks on the artist.

"You can't have any bad in you if you paint like this," Vassallo said. "I'm fortunate and honored that I'm able to own a gallery that spreads such a positive message through Thom's artwork." ["Thom"???]


"People can relate to the images that he paints," Vassallo said. "They don't need to hire someone to explain to them what it means. They can receive that message that he's trying to send: faith, family, friendship, hope."

Critics don't consider Kinkade much of an artist - no museum shows his work - but he is a marketing genius with legions of fans.

"The critics may not endorse me, but I own the hearts of the people," he told Christianity Today.
I am reminded of the words of Reverend Larry in Repo Man: "They're right! I do want your money! Because God wants your money!"


The Kenosha Kid said...

You Hollywood types have no respect for heartland art.

flory said...

Pittsburgh types apparently don't either.

There were two of his galleries I know of out here, both are closed.



Eli said...

Or certain South Carolina types, as it happens...

oldwhitelady said...

No, no, not Thomas Kinkade! I really like his paintings.
I guess artists can be bastards, too.

karmic_jay said...

lol.. he can do no wrong he is Krischtun. And you heathen liberal folks just want to fornicate and and..