I found this article by Daniel A. Siedell at patheos.com about the art of recently-deceased Thomas’ Kinkade fascinating. I have to say I was always perplexed by the success of Kinkade and from the first time I ever saw it with some friends who were oohing and aahing over it in a store I was 100% turned off. But you could say that was just me being snobby. But Siedell’s article gives a fascinating theological framework as to why the self-described “painter of light” was in fact no such thing.
To quote Siedell
“Kinkade’s work is the meticulously painted smile on the Joker’s disfigured face. It refuses to deal with the fallenness, brokenness, sinfulness of the world. And more troubling, it enables his clientele to escape into an imaginary world where things can be pretty good, as long as we have our faith, our family values, and a visual imagery that re-affirms all this at the office and at home. That Kinkade and his followers believe this to be “Christian art” is an affront to art, which time and again offers us grace, or at least brings us to the place where we realize that grace is our only hope. Art can do this because it often cuts through our self-deception to show us the reality of our souls. And this occurs because painters, poets, musicians, and writers probe the depths of human suffering and brokenness, and in that black pit, a flickering light can often be found.”
Here’s a link to the article: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/cultivare/2012/05/the-dark-light-of-thomas-kinkade/