Thomas Kinkade Studios presents "The Mandalorian"

Thomas Kincade was an abomination to the art world.

These… these are some unholy resurrection of the style trying to remain relevant in a pop culture obsessed world.

Burn it all to the ground!!!

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This is a put on, right? Please tell me this is a put on?

Part of the marketing slogans for this;

“May the farce be with you!”

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I would display the first one in my home. Probably in my office if my wife had her say. But then the cinematographer’s original composition just holds up really well in the recreation and doubtless would be great in any style. Much like the show’s theme, I haven’t heard a cover I didn’t like.

I completely agree, and have stumbled through many of the same mistakes, feel similarly about my own choices. I’m trying hard to actually have the open mind I’ve always reassured myself that I had by default.

I think in the case of Kinkade paintings it’s that special mix of kitsch and capitalist grift that raises people’s ire. The whole investment angle takes whatever naïve comfort factor they have and poisons it. I put them in the same category as you (and, again, I also) put football, just on an order of magnitude less extractive.

Juicing up a Kinkade painting with Disney amphetamines just underscores the point - not to mention the cognitive dissonance of pastoral watercolors about military fetishism and warmhearted mercenaries.

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This is why we can’t have nice things.

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Is the Mandolorian itself somehow free of the capitalist production? If so, how? I mean, last year we were all talking about how Disney was so foolish to keep Baby Yoda under wraps to the point of not even making toys, because they lost out on so much profit making.

Neither Kinkade nor Disney exist outside of capitalist production. :woman_shrugging: If you want to make that a larger argument, okay. There are plenty of things to be critical of with regards to Disney AND Kinkade for sure. But some people seem to be concerned about the commercialization of a commercial property which is a strange argument to make, I think when Disney is involved.

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Ugh… Kinkade.

Pass.

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This is all pretty weird and complicated for me. I’m working through my own cognitive dissonance with all this stuff. I was mostly writing about assembly-line painting as an investment grift, which I think they (thin Kinkade company) has largely moved past. I have to admit the Mandalorian angle was just an excuse to grumble about Kinkade again. That said, the Mandalorian itself is its own challenge for me.

I’ll smoke a joint and watch the Mandalorian, 'cos it’s fun to hang out in Star Wars Land. Explosions are fun and star wars lore is fun, and the production quality is amazing. And at the same time I’ll be saddened and outraged that we’re still celebrating characters who cheer and high-five each other as the remorselessly - even gleefully - murder people. I mean the show literally features death as a punchline at least once per episode, not counting “the heat of battle”.

My problem here isn’t with Capitalism doing Capitalism. To be honest I haven’t thought through what exactly has me so turned off by all this. But in the case of the Kinkade-style Mandalorian paintings there’s something especially darkly surreal. Cynicism aside for a moment, Kinkade painted scenes of pastoral beauty, harkening back to a simpler time, and celebrating the ideals of being peacefully at one with nature, light, and the living world.

I know I haven’t worked this all out and I certainly don’t hold any kind of moral high-ground. But using that particular form to celebrate war (regardless of who’s making a buck off of it) seems, I dunno, icky?

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Okay, well that’s an argument I can get behind!

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Not exactly. The Kincade studios weren’t for making paintings - Kincade (or someone else) did that individually, and the assembly line was for tarting up prints of those paintings. They’d daub a bit of paint on the prints to give them individuality (and presumably so they could semi-truthfully sell them as “paintings”).

If they’d spent that money on alcohol (and then drank most of it) they’d be better set for their retirement, probably. I was reading about someone who bought some $6000 Kincade “paintings” (i.e. prints) decades back and was angry to find that no one was willing to give him more than $400 for them now. Having an assembly line to pump out over-priced prints to flood the market doesn’t do much for their long-term value, it turns out. (This happens so often that you’d think people would figure this out, even if they weren’t really hooked into the art world.) The various prints, depending on the run numbers and popularity and surviving paperwork, seem to run between “mostly maintained its value” and “totally worthless.”

Ouch. My grandfather had a stamp collection he left my father, thinking it would be worth something. It wasn’t. At all. But at least my grandfather never spent any money assembling the collection in the first place.

The art itself aside, I find that the whole business set up essentially as a scam kind of rankles.

And it’s not just kitsch, but kitsch wrapped up in some fairly gross values, too - conservative Christian fundamentalism, consumerism, etc.

Not that I’m going to mock anyone for enjoying colorful pictures of cozy cottages, or whatever, but it’s also an incredibly easily imitated style. (Because frankly, on a technical level, Kincade was kind of a shit painter. At best he was a mediocre painter who had highly polished a style that was easily reproduced.) That people are specifically buying (incredibly overpriced) Kincade (studio) prints, rather than indistinguishable original art (that’s much cheaper) from other artists indicates people aren’t actually buying “Kincades” because they like the art.

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Because while it’s nice and the correct thing to point out the relativity involved in art and its judgements, sometimes it just really feels good to give in to the dark side, not give in to shamefulness or embarrassment and worrying about other peoples’ feelings and just proclaim from the rooftops what one knows to be true.

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I mean even my mom expressed an interest in this stuff at one point, but I think my parents’ natural stinginess and typical-for-them feelings of “we don’t deserve to have things we would enjoy even though we can afford them” kept the idiocy at arms length so I never had to face the question of do I intervene or not.

As far as the OP, while I’m concerned for the eyesight of all the characters involved having so little light to illuminate their lives, at least there is one painting that still adheres to the original principal of “dwellings built on what would obviously be a frequently flooded area”.

Imagine paying that much money for star wars paintings and they’re not by Drew Struzan or Ralph McQuarrie.

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Aside from the scammy nature of Kincade, Inc., which I never liked, and was readily apparent and reported on decades ago, how much of the criticism leveled toward Kincade is valid artistic criticism, how much pretentious BS, and how much is “hipster signaling”?

I personally don’t find his works particularly compelling; I find it visually pleasing while not necessarily creative or innovative in its use of color, composition, or subject matter. It isn’t clear whether he strives for realism or Impressionism, as there seems to be elements of both in many of his paintings, and no clear commitment to either. The brightly glowing windows during mid-day evoke thoughts of hellfire burning from within the homes of poor, doomed souls, once seen, never to be unseen. As @Bfarnn noted,

Kinkade painted scenes of pastoral beauty, harkening back to a simpler time, and celebrating the ideals of being peacefully at one with nature, light, and the living world.

There are people who like that sort of painting, and Kincade’s specifically, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s not a good thing, either. It’s just a thing. While I am no great fan of his work, there are some pictures which look nice, and are kind of fun to look at (his pastoral McMansions are a guilty pleasure; I love trying to imagine the floor plans(!)), but not enough for me to buy one and put it on a wall.

Art is highly subjective, and also a way to signal who is sophisticated and refined, and who is a hopeless slob to be mocked. For example, many people consider Jackson Pollock to be a great artist, and his paintings have sold for millions. But his works evoke nothing in me, neither appreciation nor revulsion. Just… nothing. When I read analysis of his work, I see pretentious words and hollow phrases, that at best explain his technique, but not offering any valuable insight (to me, anyway) into why his works rose above any other artist, contemporary or otherwise. Ooh! He created art on a horizontal surface! You know who else creates art on a horizontal surface? Cartoonists! Yet somehow they struggle for artistic recognition.

Meanwhile, the painting that haunts my dreams is a work by an anonymous artist in Zanzibar of a traditional door. The use of cerulean blue, maroon and brown were striking, the technique made clever use of brush stroke directionally to give the painting a sense of depth and motion, and the composition evoked the mystery and wonder of wandering the old town for the first time in the early morning. At the time I was foolishly worried about how to get it home, but now I wish I had just took the risk and bought it.

Too often artistic criticism, whether of paintings, music, film, etc., is another way of acting superior to someone else. “I liked Camper Van Beethoven before Key Lime Pie” or “oh, you like Nickleback?” Or George Bush getting panned for his paintings while Jim Carrey gets praised. In my opinion neither are particularly talented, but If someone likes their work, good on them. There’s enough of tearing people down going on, there’s no reason to add to it needlessly by bashing someone for liking something you don’t, whether directly or indirectly.

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