Known as the “Painter of Light,” Thomas Kinkade is dead at the age of 54. According to a statement from his family, the famed artist died at his home in Los Gatos, California of what appeared to be natural causes.
According to his wife Nanette, “Thom provided a wonderful life for his family,”she said in a statement. “We are shocked and saddened by his death.”
While artists have varying opinions on Kinkade’s artwork, it is estimated that one of his paintings hang in one of every twenty houses in the United States. His art is known for prominent highlights in idyllic scenes. Kinkade has stated that “With whatever talent and resources I have, I’m trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel.” He took a very different approach to artwork. While many artists use art to express themselves, Kinkade used art to reach out to people and give them what they want. He mass produced his artwork and sold it in malls, on television, and in theme parks. This approach perhaps opened the world of art to millions of people throughout his career and life.
He also was known for some of his Disney artwork. He painted pictures for Disneyland’s 50th and Walt Disney World’s 35th anniversaries. His Disney Dreams Collection utilized his unique style to bring Disney characters into the world he created through his brush strokes. Thomas Kinkade said of this collection, “My Disney Dreams Collection celebrates great moments from Walt Disney Films. I call these paintings “narrative panoramas” because each painting tells the entire story of the film in one image.”
Kinkade was also a strong supporter of non-profit organizations. He had a heart for organizations that supported children, humanitarian aid, and the arts. He was known to be generous in giving to the Salvation Army, Make-A-Wish Foundation, World Vision, and Art for Children Charities. He was also the Ambassador of Light for the Points of Light Foundation.
“Art is forever,” Kinkade said in a “60 Minutes” interview. “It goes front and center on your wall, where everyday the rest of your life you see that image. And it is shaping your children, it’s shaping your life.” Even with the death of Thomas Kinkade, he will continue to live on through his artwork.