1. When and how did you come to faith in Christ Jesus as your personal Savior?
When I was a kid, my mother was a woman of prayer and she raised us to believe in what she would call ‘little miracles.’ If she got a $5 extra fee as a Notary Public, then that to her was a miracle. She believed that miracles were an every day occurrence, not just something that was dramatic like the parting of the waters of the Red Sea. She believed that miracles were as simple as a kind word or a small gesture or some opportunity that came your way that you didn’t expect. When I went off to college, she said “Son, I’m going to be praying for you that God will always reach out and touch your life.” It was during my years at Berkeley, I began to notice that God’s hand was at work – first in the professors that I had, second in the way in which I found my faith getting reinforced, and thirdly sometimes by the way He closed doors. It wasn’t just a question of Him opening doors all the time. I began to notice that sometimes when He closed doors, it was the greatest blessing as well. I went to southern California to go to Art school – when I was there, I went with friends to a Tent Revival meeting and that was the time I recommitted my life to Christ. I was about 20 years old at the time and I think that was a time where my faith emerged not just as a byproduct of my Mom’s faith, but as my own personal faith.
2. How has Christ Jesus inspired you in your art work?
Well, there’s no doubt that God created the world with a desire to give us pleasure. There is beauty in every sunset, there is hope in every sunrise and there’s a great sense of the abundance and diversity of the world itself. Color reminds me that God gave us senses that we can celebrate beauty. The world probably could have been just as easily created in black and white, but because we have a sense of color, we can celebrate nature in all its diversity. My belief is that the artist has a great chance to hold up a mirror to God’s creation and remind people of God’s love by reveling in the beauty of the forms He created. We pass through the beauty of this world without stopping to take notice of God’s hand of creation. His masterwork is the earth itself and the diversity of plant life, animal life, the diversity of natural experiences including sunrises, sunsets, misty mornings, etc., all testify to the abundance of His creativity. I think as artists, we just attest to God’s creative hand by attempting to imitate Him in our own creativity. My work radiates light. The light that I try to paint is not just the visual light of perception, but also the light of God’s radiant love. The sense that when you look in the windows, there are people at peace inside that dwelling. There’s a sense of all consuming comfort and tranquility that people need now more than ever.
3. John 3:16, how did that come about being on your paintings?
That is just a testimony to my faith in Christ. The core of the Gospel is John 3:16 because we realize that God loved the whole world, not just the bits and pieces of it that we think are desirable or worthy of His love, but God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That’s a pretty powerful love. I put that scripture on my paintings as a testimony to my love for God and also to God’s love for me. The hope is that people will be curious about that scripture verse and will seek to understand it on their own. If someone opens the Bible and looks it up, then it’s been worth putting on my paintings.
4. In your experience with art, how old were you when you started doing sketching and later painting?
Well, I was in art as a baby. I definitely had a God given talent from an early age, but it was truly an opportunity to watch God’s hand at work. When I was 14 years old, an old artist moved into the neighborhood and became my mentor. Looking back, that was one of the greatest miracles of my life. In fact, that story, the story of how Glen Wessels moved to the neighborhood and adopted me as his protégé, friend and studio assistant, was told in a major Hollywood movie entitled 'Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage'. And this movie tells the story of this miracle in my life – the time that God brought an aging artist who needed a young friend and helper into my community and gave me a chance to work with him.
5. What else would you like to share with our readers?
My mom always said that God gives us talents for a reason – that when God gives you a talent that’s His gift to you, but that how you use your talent is your gift to God. I believe each of us in our own way, have talents and that the obligations of our talents is to let the light of God shine. Humans don’t glow in the physical sense, but we glow with God’s love as reflected in the way in which we treat one another. Jesus said you’ll know my children by their love for one another. This is truly a core scripture for me. I try in every way to exude love. When I meet with strangers at an event, or when I’m standing on the stage or when I’m in my daily dealings with people, I try to operate on the principle of love. I think love is the brightest light of all.
Click here to download my audio interview with Thomas Kinkade Nov. 16, 2008.
More information is available at the web sites: www.thomaskinkade.com and www.thechristmascottagemovie.com
©Copyright 2009 Intermountain Christian News. For reprint information, call (208) 703-8688.
InterMountain Christian News, Boise, Idaho.
Thomas Kinkade Bio
From Humble Beginnings
Bio source for Thomas Kinkade:
Photo above: Thom (on left) and his brother Pat, 1967
Thomas Kinkade was born in Sacramento, California on January 19th, 1958. He was raised in nearby Placerville, a small town in the former gold fields of the Sierra foothills. At the tender age of five, little Thomas Kinkade and his two siblings were left fatherless after their parent's divorce. They were impoverished and lived in the most run-down house on the street. His mother, Marianne, tried to make ends meet on her modest secretary's wage, but being a single working mom was a tough job. Often the three children came home to a dark empty house. Kinkade recalls, "There wasn't much stability." Despite the tough times, Thom's family encouraged his interest in art. Kinkade dreamt of the future and that someday, he would make his living as a painter and would have enough money to build a nice family home and not worry about paying the bills.
Photo above: Thom and his Mentor, Glenn Wessels
In Placerville, he was a boy with crayons, a kid who could draw. He was also the local newspaper delivery boy, an avid swimmer and loyal friend. As a child he constantly read biographies of artists, including those of painters and illustrators like Norman Rockwell, Maxwell Parrish and Howard Pyle. At age 11, he had his first "apprenticeship." Charles Bell, a local painter, instructed him in basic techniques. It was that year that he sold his first painting for $7.50. The woman who bought it remembered thinking at the time, I'd better hold onto this picture. In high school, Kinkade came face to face with twentieth-century modernism in the person of Glenn Wessels, a former professor in the art department at the University of California. Wessels encouraged Kinkade both to tie his art more directly to emotion (rather than observation alone) and to experiment with highly personal forms of expression. He also influenced Kinkade's decision to attend the University of California at Berkley, where he enrolled in studio art and art history classes with a vision of himself as a counterculture nonconformist who would use his art to change and challenge convention. But Berkley in the 1970's gave Thom a culture shock of his own. He discovered he was indeed a nonconformist in his dislike of their system of art education. "My professors would say art should be all about you," Kinkade recalls. "That's a very self centered approach." After two years of frustration, Thom decided it was time to move on and he transferred to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. The fierce competition with other students pushed him to an intensive development of techniques for creating effects of light and mood. His work at the Art Center helped him to get hired to paint backgrounds-700 of them-for Disney's Hollywood animation studios on the animated film Fire and Ice. After one year he decided to move on.
Painting above: Dawson, 1984
In 1982, Thom and his high school sweetheart, Nanette, were married in a small church in Placerville. The church became the subject of his painting "Blossom Hill Church." The young couple had moved back to their hometown and decided to go into business on their own. They began making limited edition prints of Thom's work out of their garage. Their first piece was Dawson, a beautiful tribute to early Alaska. Nanette helped to take orders and then pack and ship the prints from their garage. Immediately, they were a success and Dawson was a complete sellout. Light post publishing was born. The corporate philosophy of Light post remains the creation of art that will communicate with people and whose message "uplifts people." With help from investors he opened 10 galleries across the country to display and sell his artwork. By early 1998 he had more than 100, and has since tripled. The little boy with big dreams had grown to become the World's Most Collected Artist.
Photo above: Thom in his Studio, 2003
Bio source for Thomas Kinkade above:
Our Thomas Kinkade
By Bill and Debbie Mason, Boise, Idaho
(Click here to download interview with Bill Mason regarding Thomas Kinkade)
Pictured above left to right: Debbie Mason, Thomas Kinkade, Bill Mason.
Our Thomas Kinkade; in our life times we have been blessed to meet, know and partner with Thomas Kinkade the painter of Light. Let us share for just a moment the BEST and most memorable years of our lives.
Debbie and Bill Mason have spent 30 years as retailers and owners of several long term very rewarding businesses. Some twenty years ago Debbie met Thomas Kinkade at an art show in Los Angles, California. At that time Debbie owned and operated a gift store in an indoor mall in Idaho, This business purchased from over 300 different vendors, and was about to add one more to the list, The art of Thomas Kinkade. Our lives would change forever as we came to know the artist, his family and his art production company. This new company helped its dealers to learn the business, gave of its time, and money more than was expected and more than other companies we dealt with.
Thomas Kinkade gave his heart and his love of the Lord to everyone he met and that made for a very long and busy schedule for Thom and his family. Thom’s paintings touched people’s hearts, gave them hope and allowed us all to escape into his paintings, if only for a minute, and let me say it is a breath of fresh air for a lot of us. He called himself a Romantic Realist as he painted what people wanted to see, maybe that beautiful stream did not have a cabin with animals peacefully meandering around… beside my mind’s stream, I see them. We will always be able to look deep into our memories and see things with a little more light shining from the windows, that’s what Thom gave us.
Thom and Nanette would welcome all of the some 300 Signature Gallery dealers, to special events, and as we remember a trip to the Kinkade Ranch in California, trips to Arizona, Carmel, California and a business conference on a cruise ship, to mention just a few, we just say thanks for the memories. The family would host events graciously and it was as if we were part of this big family. We remember Thomas calling Debbie one day and saying, I’m flying over Idaho today and would love to see you and Bill. Deb can you call and get a small conference room at a hotel close to your Gallery, and can you invite your art consultants oh and bring all of my art you can grab so I can sign some for your collectors in Idaho, they mean a lot to me?
Thom loved Idaho and its people and often requested that Bill find a guide to take him into the wilderness of Idaho to paint. I wish we could have done that for him, I did not know the Lord wanted him to come home so soon.
You see Thom wasn’t just a painter, he was our friend, all of you who read this, Thomas was a friend of yours. Jesus, Thom loved you and spoke of you often, to all of us, we ask that you give him a hug for us because we love and miss our friend.
We love you all, may God bless you and keep you… pray for Thom’s family…
Thanks for the best years of our lives, Bill and Debbie Mason, Boise Idaho.
(Click here to download interview with Bill Mason regarding Thomas Kinkade)
To watch a movie about Thomas Kinkade's life, purchase Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage movie - click here or on movie picture below: