He's only called "the painter of light™" because he registered that term as a trademark and plasters it all over everything. You want a real painter of light? Try Vermeer. You want cottages? Try Constable. You want Yosemite? Try Ansel Adams. You want landscapes? Try the Hudson River school. You want a real painter? Don't try Kinkade.

Leading brand name of Media Arts Group, Inc. (NYSE: MDA), the company that not only sells his reproductions, but licenses Kinkade's name and images (which he calls, "silent messengers (of family/God’s values) in the home") to other products (calendars, stickers, greeting cards, mouse pads, coffee mugs, and even Lazy-Boy recliners). In 2001, Builder Taylor Woodrow even created a Kinkade-themed gated housing subdivision in Vallejo, California (The 101 units sold slowly, the entire marketing team for "The Village" was replaced, and this experiment in cobranding has not been repeated).

In 2004, Thomas Kinkade bought out Media Arts Group and became the largest shareholder, taking the company private.

An estimated 10 million American consumers have purchased a Kinkade, which are sold at various price points from to US$300 to US$60,000 (The difference in prices, which allows for a wide audience to own a Kinkade, not only encompasses differences in framing and materials, but the level of artist who has applied highlighting to the lithograph in Kinkade's San Jose, California, factory warehouse. Dots and squiggles added by a "master highlighter" add value, and the top of the line lithographs have highlighting added by Kinkade himself).

A Christian painter, he includes a Bible reference and a Christian fish (ichthus) with his signature. He describes his work as expressing Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Kinkade also imbeds the letter N on every canvas in honor of his wife's name, Nanette. Want to see Kinkade's sentimental and decorative landscapes (he rejects modernism to paint what he calls "romantic realism")? Visit www.thomaskinkade.com.

Kinkade also lends his name as co-author (with Katherine Spencer) of a series of novels featuring stories set in the fictional town of Cape Light, Massachusetts, the sort of community featured in his paintings:

Sources:
Randall Ballmer, "The Kinkade Crusade," Christianity Today, December 4, 2000. <http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/014/6.48.html> (June 15, 2001)
John King, "Suburban Legend," Metropolitan Magazine. July 1, 2003. <http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:J2NPaGGQDhYJ:www.metropolismag.com/cda/story.php%3Fartid%3D334> (December 19, 2005)

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