William Thomas Kinkade III was an American painter of popular realistic, pastoral, and idyllic subjects. He is notable for the mass marketing of his work as printed reproductions and other licensed products via the Thomas Kinkade Company.
Born: January 19, 1958 in Sacramento, California, United States
Died: April 6, 2012 in Monte Sereno, California, United Sates
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Stephen Francis Dennstedt at Indochine Photography. I’m an itinerant American expat traveling the world and taking my pictures. Before I got a life I was a commercial banker for thirty years, and a (very) young Marine Corps Sergeant in Vietnam. I’ve been snapping shutters for over sixty years, and finally turned professional in 2009 founding my company Indochine Photography. I left the USA in early 2012 to pursue my lifelong dream of photographing the world, and interacting with its diverse cultures. Shortly after arriving in Yucatan, Mexico, I spent a year as the staff photographer for The Yucatan Times newspaper, and also provided my photographic services to the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve and Puuc Jaguar Conservation. Since I’ve been on the road I’ve adopted the philosophy of: Live Simple, Live Cheap, Live Free.
I began my early career as a classically trained artist studying with the well-known San Diego artist Dorothy Wright. Achieving some initial success early on I enjoyed an exhibition of my work at the world-renowned San Diego Museum of Fine Art. Not living up to my own unrealistic expectations I left the world of paint, brush and canvas behind, and instead embraced photography which I had been studying concurrently. Again success came early when I was a winner in Kodak’s National High School Photography Contest.
Born: May 18, 1947 in San Diego, California, United States
Died: Not yet
Isn’t he the self-aggrandizing one to compare himself to the renowned Thomas Kinkade? Possibly I am, but what the hell. Many people around the world love Kinkade’s paintings, and that love made him a multimillionaire. Was he a great artist? I don’t think so, but that’s a subjective opinion. Was he a marketing genius? To that question I will respond with a resounding yes.
Hits and misses. Kinkade nailed it with subject matter especially amongst the womenfolk. His subjects are warm and sentimental (think cottages in the country). Where he lost me was with his mass marketing of so-called limited editions. What the Thomas Kinkade Company is selling is a dream. Kinkade would paint a simple, overly romantic scene and then have it “photocopied” hundreds of times. These “copies” were then sent to hundreds of touch up artists who added brush strokes and large gobs of white highlights to give the “copies” a dubious authenticity. These “copies” were then numbered and sold as limited editions for a pretty substantial price. Even though Kinkade died in 2012 his company is still making millions of dollars per year marketing a dream. Fine art it’s not, a money-making machine it is. To collectors I say beware, these are not original works of art that appreciate in value over the years, in point of fact they depreciate.
What my photographer friends and I do is take real photographs of real places and real people. We add our own artistic interpretation (our own vision) to enhance the natural beauty or interest of the subjects we photograph. Unlike Kinkade you can actually visit the places we photograph, and not just dream about them. Each print is an original image derived from a unique digital file or film negative. These are high-resolution images suitable for framing or canvas. My original fine art prints can print larger than a typical Kinkade “copy.” Are my prints cheap? Nope, but they are reasonable and typically less than the mass-produced and marketed images from the Thomas Kinkade Company. Will my prints appreciate over time? No guarantees, it will depend on my success and future notoriety. Can you be proud to own them? Well I certainly hope so, I am finally receiving some international recognition and exposure and my sales worldwide are increasing slowly and steadily.
Unlike the deceased Thomas Kinkade, and the still thriving Thomas Kinkade Company machine, I am alive and kicking and operating my smalltime independent company. I am doing my best to earn your loyalty, business and respect. If you’re a collector of fine art, or just appreciate beautiful art hanging in your home or office, give my fellow photographers and me an opportunity to earn your business. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, and who knows we just might be famous someday. Then you will have bragging rights—I knew him when.