Thomas Kinkade, the famed “Painter of Light”, died April 6, 2012. I like his work. The artistic intelligentsia scoffed at his art proclaiming it merely kitsch. The art subculture held their collective noses, rolled their eyes and sighed, as Thomas Kinkade became a multi-millionaire. What do art critics know?
I suggest there is much more to Thomas Kinkade’s art then what appears at first glance. When looking at a Kinkade painting, what do we see? He is not representing physical reality. And he is not painting an idealized version of reality. What he paints does not exist in the material world. I suggest what Thomas Kinkade painted were visions of the afterlife.
Kinkade’s work was like a depiction of fairyland with all the lights and pastels, his cottages, gardens and streams that are not of this world. Kinkade said he was a spiritual painter and that his paintings reflected that spirituality. However, beyond depicting the serenity of the afterlife, there is something further.
I suggest there is a shamanistic quality to Kinkade’s art that has been unrecognized. Examine the art of real shaman artists and their depiction of what they experienced during altered states of consciousness. At the top is a painting by Kinkade and shaman artist Pablo Amaringo. Pablo Amaringo’s psychedelic imagery is filled with lights and bright pastels. Shaman artists are also painters of light, but they are painting what they have actually seen.
Check out the work of Peruvian shaman Pablo Amaringo here: http://www.grahamhancock.com/gallery/supernatural/
When I see a Thomas Kinkade painting it reminds me of a toned down version of shaman art. Kinkade’s version of the afterlife may not have been entirely from his imagination. Below is an excellent video by Graham Hancock explaining the role of art, prehistoric to the present, from a shaman’s view. It is eye opening. Afterwards, you may not look at a Kinkade painting the same way.