Chances are though, hypothetical Kinkade paintings that came from a place of suffering never would have sold millions like the real Kinkades did (and still do). As his brother Patrick says in a quote that ends Bissonnette’s article, “His legacy in terms of new publications … will far outlive anybody who reads this article.” Unfortunately, this is because, like Kinkade, the masses, including far too many Christians, like having the wool pulled over their eyes. Give me Hallmark, Kinkade, Joel Osteen, and Chicken Soup for the Soul they seem to say. They want the stuff that is never touched by tragedy, but ignoring the pain is no triumph. Rather, as Siedell says in his treatment of Kinkade:
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.
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“My brother was a good man,” he said, pausing as he choked up along with much of the mostly middle-aged and older audience. “The tragedy of my brother is he eventually fell to his own humanity. The triumph of my brother is that his art was never touched by that tragedy. His art was affirmation that there was hope, there was beauty, and a statement of love that wasn’t touched by this.”