In his life Thomas Kinkade may have painted the light, but beneath the surface, there was a lot of darkness. The way he died -- accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium -- is a telling reminder of the inner demons the critically-maligned artist was facing. But it's his will controversy that is really shedding some true "light" on his life.
Kinkade had a wife and four daughters, from whom he was estranged. His mistress Amy Pinto-Walsh was the primary person he spent time with and she has produced handwritten notes allegedly written by Kinkade leaving her a mansion and $10 million to start a museum of his paintings.
The case is going to court, but are we really going to take the final will and testament of a man who was spiraling out of control who wrote it on a legal pad with a pen? Sorry, lady, that's crazy talk.
Wills can be a very tricky thing in families. Most of the major fights and rifts in families seem to come from some dispute over a will. But Pinto-Walsh is going to have an uphill battle proving that a man, clearly under duress, can write a shakily written note and call it a will.
Sorry, lady, no dice.
This is the tragic truth of people who are wealthy. As much as being rich is better than being poor as a general rule (duh), it's also true that being wealthy subjects you to scorn, envy, and derision.
Would Kinkade be nearly as much fun to mock if so many people hadn't bought his work in droves? Would he be really fun to mock if he wasn't appealing to the masses in the way he was?
For an artist, Kinkade was hugely successful, the kind of success even well-loved art snobs can only dream of. But that came with a price tag. Literally. Now everyone wants a piece of that, which, of course, is the other downside to success like this.
In life, I may have mocked Kinkade, but in death, I see it differently. His life was nothing like those pastoral paintings he produced that sold for $100 to people who probably don't spend much time really understanding real art. His real life was much more tragic and tumultuous.
The irony is that his death and this ensuing will issue isn't unlike those of many "real" artists, replete with addictions and inner demons. The tragedy is that in life, he never got to experience the light he spent his life painting.
I see Thomas Kinkade in a new way now and my heart goes out to his REAL family, not those attempting to pilfer his estate.
Does this make you see Kinkade differently?
Image via Allan Ferguson/Flickr