VidFest Presentation

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    This is a loosely chronological survey of my work from my teenage fanzine artwork to screenshots of The Matrix Online, for which I wrote story continuity over the first few years of its existence. SF illustration, movie storyboards, advertising art and plenty of Concrete and other comics work included. It was part of my talk with Mark Verheiden, then a Battlestar Galactica writer/producer, to Vidfest 2007 in Vancouver BC.

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April 11, 2012


Matt Weber

Quick style tip: Almost every one of your sentences can be improved by replacing Kinkade's name or the corresponding pronoun with "The Painter of Light."

Steve Starbuck

I can still recall his gob, smacked, when the glorious Alexandra Galbraith came to fetch me, scintillatingly, after a bit of couchsurfing with you. Oh those wretchedly depopulated faux Western landscapes of his, the smoke curling artfully from an indifferently researched tepee, and him all cowboy boots and enamel-buttoned squaredancin' shirts, trying to gin up that particular stab at a smarmy artstar career...


Thanks Paul for your honest tribute and assessment of Thom. I share many of your sentiments. Well, OK, all of your sentiments. I don't know if you remember me, I hung out with Thom and at times, Jim G at Art Center for a time. I remember his poverty that brought him to buy liverwurst for sandwiches, and riding on back his motorcycle to hitch a ride to help him name his western art paintings as he delivered them to Many Horses Gallery on La Cienega Blvd., in Hollywood. But he also infuriated me with his narcissistic-egotistical self-agrandizement...He was really unhealthy to be around, so much so that I had to get away from him and could only do so by actually moving unannounced...and I marveled how any woman could devote her life to him and have his children. Crap, I nearly drove him off the SF bay bridge after a stunt he pulled that pushed me to the limit. You say he had a rebirth in Christ after what he calls his "dark" period? (Didn't his "dark period" last his whole life?) Was it after he started signing his paintings with the Christian logo? Because he was signing his paintings that way and living like something else...I pray he really did have a true conversion because I didn't see it then and I doubt it to this day. ..(although he loved to visit black Baptist churches for the grand experience) and I'm also glad you also think he never mastered the human figure...the day in Barnes and Noble I opened up one of his published books explaining his work and that the reason he doesn't include many people in his paintings is because his paintings tell stories and their presence is already felt in all his work....I burst out laughing and chortled aloud, "He doesn't paint people because he can't!". But landscapes, ah, yes, that he did very well.

But I do have a favorite memory with Thom...on back of his motorcycle..riding down the Angeles crest highway. He cut his motor and began weaving back and forth. A policeman eventually pulled us over and separated us. He kept going from Thom to me trying to figure out what infraction he was going to write on the ticket. He couldn't seem to figure it out. Thom did his best to explain, then my turn came and the policeman yelled at me, "And you! What were YOU doing?" I replied non-challantly , "Oh, I was hopping up and down, waving my arms like wings, and whinnying like a horse." ...That didn't help. So, in desperation, I pointed to the Art Center logo sticker on the back of Thom's motorcycle and chirped, "Well,... we are Art Center students." "OH, THAT explains it!!" And he let Thom off with a warning.
R.I.P. Thom, you accomplished amazing things...and many people seem to really love your work.


I do remember you, Tina, but I didn't know things were that serious between you two. Sounds like you shared a lot of wild experiences with Thom.

I recall you pushing past Thom on the outdoor walkway at the Golden Palm after an argument, and him theatrically throwing himself back, arms akimbo -- cracking the window of the neighboring apartment. It had to be replaced. In retellings, this became the time Tina "pushed me through a plate glass window."

Since writing this post, I've learned more, and I think you're right -- the dark times didn't end. His death is looking increasingly like alcohol poisoning, at least in part. And the business and marriage, triumphs followed by disasters.

I love the story about saving the day pointing to the Art Center sticker. Quick thinking!

Ron Harris has an insightful reminiscence of Thom at


Yes Chad, you tell the plate glass story correctly. I wince when I recall that one. I gave Thom a quick shove backwards as I walked past because during the argument, he escorted me out the door without my Art Center project-due the following morning. He wouldn't give it to me and I took a 0 on that assignment, (and you know how long it took to finish an Art Center assignment! The proverbial "all nighters"- remember the morning driving into school, coming upon the guy who fell asleep, ran over the fire hydrant that exploded up through the roof of his car?) the instructor didn't believe me that I had had an argument with Thom and he kept, or most likely, threw away my work...

But, I was never serious with Thom, I was never romantically attracted nor tied to him. (my tastes were steered more towards the likes of Chris Bangel, who later became the head designer for BMW-now he had class in character and craft) but Thom and I did hang out quite a bit until I couldn't take anymore. He's the kind that got under my skin and it took a while to disengage from him emotionally...Like Mr. Bakshi, I also believed Thom had the capability to become a "Cult Leader. You can view his first post about Thom at: ( (Thom also used to pride himself in that he could get me to call him telepathically...and he was right...I would get this incessant urge to call him when he wanted me to call ) I even read one article recently that stated Thom referred to his following fans as "the cult".

Yes, I have stories about Thom, mostly harmful to his image. He couldn't stand to be upstaged, would blow up at me frequently. Once because I told him of my visit and tour of Hanna Barbara animation studios in which a friend whom Thom didn't know, had invited me to visit. Thom had a tantrum because I didn't invite him to come along. He then toured and touted his visit to Disney animation studios with Jim G, then went farther to get employed with Bakshi.

Another time he blew up because I purchased a book he once pointed out to me at an art store which contained a medium mastic recipe he claimed was the secret to why his paintings "glistened". A recipe anyone can now find online.

One of the last times we met up, he coerced me into driving from Pasadena to, I believe, Modesto, CA, about 400 miles. He was visiting with his father. He said I could make it in about 4 hours if I drove 80 mph. He didn't have any transportation and said if I drove up to help get him around town, he would give me a tour of San Francisco. The one caveat was that I first stop at a certain store along the way to pick up a particular piece of porn he fancied. Foolishly, I did, and after driving 400 miles, my tour consisted ONLY of the Red LIght district in SF. Furious, I told him he didn't care a stitch about me and threw his porn out the window. The argument that ensued that time nearly took us off the SF Bay Bridge...this is what I mean when I say "unhealthy" relationship. Brilliant or no, I loathed whom he portrayed himself to be...self proclaimed Christian "painter of light". And, funny, he said "God" was his "Art Agent" while he told me I would never make it in the art world because I wasn't "aggressive enough". A complete contradiction in words. I HAVE had the Lord lead me artistically...and I could take no credit for it...once He screamed "Disney!" while I was exiting a church service. I thought, "Oh, I'm going to work for Disney!" Within the year, someone I met introduced me to a Creative Director for Consumer Products, Film division, Burbank, and she hired me as a design assistant. (full time freelance design assistant) Another time, by word of mouth, the Lord brought me into a ceramic mural handpainting design business through which I painted rooms full of fired ceramic murals in china paint for multi-million dollar homes. I promoted myself zero times and attended china painting shows to figure out how to use the paints!

Well, there is more, but I best stop here. Thom is gone, and Nanette must fight with his ex to protect what is left of his image and legacy. His daughters are gorgeous though...they are his REAL legacy. Bravo on that account.

And yes, thank you, I did read Ron Harris' blog about Thom with interest.


...Oh, one other point of interest. Thom once exclaimed his pride over his surname being spelled with a Kinkade, instead of Kincaid. He said his ancestors were rogues or something like that and so the name was changed to a bastardized spelling...I gave him the nickname, "Kink" because he was so twisted.


Oddly enough, a few weeks ago I was looking at some of Thom's work in a gallery in Vegas. Then I got home and heard he had died. You tell your story beautifully as always, Paul!


tommyIt’s the conservatives haivng the most fun with this thread whoa, like, dude, that is so not even wrong.Bluthner did struggle valiantly to make a studious point, perhaps in the hope of engaging some honest inquiry from participants other than those already in the choir, but alas no hope of that.Even he though, as a person for whom art really matters, has maintained a robust congeniality.No, tommy, you can't extrapolate that into a thesis about lefties being inherently dour. I'm haivng a ball.Oh, and Kelsey Grammar (whose code name in Beaver Creek is fossil — celebrities who buy overpriced condominiums on the ski-slopes are all given code-names for the work orders handed out to subcontractors and decorators etc., so they can have their privacy, I suppose. Of course everyone knows who's who almost immediately) is not a comedian so much as an comedic actor. Not the same thing. It's a skill, certainly, but a different one. Miguel and I built and installed some of his furniture.Never met him of course —a0it's all handled by interior designers, since these clients are themselves aesthetically illiterate they employ people to explain to them what good taste is. Within the ski-lodge aesthetic itself of course, which is an aesthetic train-wreck anyway, the way they do it.And how do they do it I hear you ask?Simple. They sit down with the client and thumb through lush catalogs such as Architectural Digest and pick out the really expensive shit, preferably from Italy. Never mind that ski lodges originally looked the way they do because they were built with local materials and hand tools.I'm not making this up, btw, that really is how the game is played.And come on, this whole thread is about whether or not cheap trashy art portends dire consequences for the community in which it is produced. Some of the thread is, because it does, as any serious look at history (or at Beaver Creek) will confirm.I do notice you pivot nicely to a flawed analysis of this solitary thread rather than challenge the rudiments, the empirical large-sample rudiments now, of my impeccable thesis about quick wits and nimble intelligence producing a left-of-center perspective. How could you not, considering how scientifically unassailable it is.That's one thing you (big C) Conservatives do well. Pivot. It's the practice you get, I reckon. Next you'll be saying that bad art doesn't matter because Texas is generating more minimum-wage jobs than anywhere in the country. 1


Tommy,you still keep turning what I said aruond 180 degrees. I guess that must be because I didn't say it clearly.I don't want to stop people from buying that shit. They should be able to buy whatever they want. What I am lamenting is a.) an educated guy would stoop to whoring whatever talent he had in that way. sure he made lots of money, but that doesn't make it any less sad. I never said he didn't paint that way because he didn't know better, I said he painted that way knowing it was utter rubbish but pleased all the same to take people's money for it, and b.) that so many people have so little experience or knowledge of the artistic heritage of the human race that they could even look at execrations like that longer than they would require to turn away and spit. Kinkade's paintings are extremely reminiscent of Nazi approved art, though not so much of Nazi propaganda, which was, sadly, often of a much higher artistic standard, as well as of Stalinist approved art, tho again not of the propaganda, which was also generally of a higher standard. And that's not a coincidence, because it's all aimed at the same thing: the big lie. About everything. I in no way suggest that exposing human beings to their long history of thought and artistic endeavor would ever result in a uniform set of tastes or thoughts or political ideas or anything at all. Education doesn't do anything, if it is a proper education, except teach people to think for themselves and expose them to everything that human being have thought about up to now. That's all I want. What I am absolutely sure about, though, is that there is no educated human being on earth who would find one of those monstrosities to be beautiful. We have all admitted we find poker playing dogs to be amusing, but nobody thinks they are beautiful. Same goes for black-velvet Elvis and cartoon characters. Those paintings are like litmus paper: any culture where a large part of the population thinks they are beautiful is a culture which lying charlatans are going to find rich pickings. THAT'S why I lament the bloody things. 3


Tommydog:again, long break before reply. I am haivng a week. I won't be here for several days, have a conference to attend.There is a complex set of factors operating here, and the organized environmentalists are now taking some very irrational positions, but you conflate the entire Democratic Party coalition with the attitudes of some of the people involved and that is just plain goofy.Your cleverly constructed conspiracy to drive the working class out of California is a wild exercise in paranoia, something out of a dope dream. You must be smoking some powerful stuff there.The fees and indirect impacts of an expanding manufacturing plant in CA do not add significant revenues, but the services needed, of all sorts, cost a municipal government a significant amount. Sorry, your denialism on this matter is just that denial of a real problem.The underlying issue, which you did not respond to, is that CA, like many states, does need to reform the structure of its taxes, at all levels and that is impossible with the Norquist Pledge in place, which mandates that any changes go in only one direction. This is, again, a real problem which you refuse to discuss.As for renewable energy, that will return benefits to CA in the future, just as the energy-efficiency standards that were enacted in the 1970 s returned vast benefits to the state, right to the present time. The nationwide Energy Star thing began in CA, a fact I'm sure you have forgotten. We are entering Peak Oil, this surge in natural gas production from fracking is beginning to cause real problems in many locales and so may not last! and a solid investment in solar and wind power is a very good idea for the long term.Decisions that are driven by short-term economics, that neglect real long-term costs, are often bad decisions. That is a central problem with what passes for thinking from conservatives these days. 0


Well, apparently Kincades are fynlig off the shelves, including in galleries in such noted blue collar enclaves as Sausalito and Napa.No, I don't think MT was advocating for a government mandated diet. I understand he was suggesting education. However, I've observed government for too long. If people ignore that education it will turn into coercion. Why let that horse out of the barn?My main point on corporations all along is that they have many venues in which to operate and they have been shifting those venues for at least 40 years now to the detriment of the working in class in those areas that were exited. The liberals like to argue that but, but, but we have wonderful policies in our blue states and that if only someone would start up a factory or other business that employed working class workers, then by gum, they would be unionized with wonderful benefits, and the management would not be allowed to make much more than workers, and the if the stock market went up only those shares in the pension plans would go up and the options owned by management wouldn't go up so much, and there would be lollipops and unicorns. Meanwhile these states empty out. All kidding aside, and I know your other posts talks about how conservatism is showing a lack of intelligence, but I think it is more a clever plot. Democrats are mostly white collar urban, educated yuppie types who really don't want the working class around and are please to see them go, but have cleverly constructed a mechanism to drive them out while telling themselves they are wonderful. It worked so perhaps there is something to be said for your theory after all. 0


The pros at 60 Minutes did a feature on Kinkade in February, 2009. The video has been reevomd from that site, but the in-front guy was Morely Safer, their resident expert on art. He was appalled before the interview, and Kinkade failed to convince him otherwise. But at that time, the Kinkade Inc. operation was running about $600 million a year in gross sales of gross crap, via his 350 franchised outlets.And yes, his style (?) of crud popularized a gooey affection for church and home as pictured in a fantasy land, which real people then try to recreate by voting for some of the worst scum in the land.That segues into something to notice, far more worthy of notice than an operator like Kinkade. We have lost Mike Wallace. He died this morning.And his son works for Faux News and is a poor successor to his father.But we should remember a real newsman who had the stones to ask the Ayatollah Khomeni if he was a nut, on live camera, while sitting in Tehran. Safer will probably be in front of the 60 Minutes camera tonight, eulogizing yet another old friend. He is the last of the original crew who is alive. Don Hewitt, Ed Bradley, and now Mike Wallace . . . and Andy, we cannot forget Andy.Sorry for the digression.On the brighter side . . . I too like those dogs-playing-poker things, especially on plush velvet, but my wife won't allow one into the house. And the Squirrel and the Moose are high art, as is the Roadrunner. 0


way to go Rip. I'm sorry Kevin, but do you really bilveee that if Prop 13 ended for commercial properties that local jurisdictions would suddenly find themselves pressed to approve a bunch of new factories because businesses, anxious to pay higher property taxes, would suddenly flood local communities with applications for new plant permits? In case you're not aware, in most cases equipment used in factories is subject to California's high sales tax and annual county property tax assessments. Raw materials used in production to the extent they finish up in an end product are exempt from sales tax, but any scrap must be accounted for and it is taxed. Tesla, being somewhat sexy and glamourous, sought and was granted exemptions from some of these taxes, but what do you think the odds of your friendly neighbourhood iron bender are of getting similar exemptions? Houses were built in Stockton because Stockton would let them build houses whereas cities closer to the bay would not. However, at the state level they are now trying to make sure that outlying cities won't be allowed to do so. On government again, if the bureaucracy wants to advise you to do something because they think it is good for you and you ignore them, the benign advice will most assuredly migrate to compulsion. 0


Tommydog:sorry for the slow reply, I was in class last night.Yes, I do think if the terms of Prop. 13 were amended and fixed, to prdivoe a tax incentive for local governments to reward them for new manufacturing in their jurisdictions, it would make one hell of a difference. Right now, there is a positive dis-incentive operating. A factory requires local services, but prdivoes zero in marginal new taxes to local government to support those services. That is what the total exemption from property tax for industrial plants did, in the long run, to manufacturing in CA.Sales tax does go, in part to those municipal governments, split between cities and counties. So we see vast acres of auto malls, and huge shopping malls, but no companies that make anything.I never stated that this is the only problem, but it is a big one. Your counter to me was a Straw Man dodge, and you should know better!The conservative Norquist Pledge stalls any rational discussion of taxes, reforming them by increasing some, while maybe reducing others. And every GOP pol is pressured by the radicals to sign that Pledge. You love to point the finger in only one direction on these issues. Well, you should know better about that too. 0

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Cortney Skinner

Looks like my comment is at the end of a long line of spam comments, but anyway, thanks for the post about Thomas Kinkade, Paul. Who knows what strange forces can take us through our life? It's all a mystery. I hope that you & yours are doing well!
- Cort

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