American artist Thomas Kinkade, who passed away on April 6, was well-known as a modern Norman Rockwell who painted more than 1,000 images of idyllic cottages and other tranquil scenes. Each painting was accentuated by his signature technique that gave his creations the illusion of being spotlighted by an angelic halo. That technique became so popular that Kinkade dubbed himself the “Painter of Light,” and later trademarked the descriptor as the tagline for his personal brand.
A Christian, Kinkade was especially popular among evangelical audiences who appreciated his penchant for incorporating religious symbolism into his work. The popularity of his paintings grew so immense that Thomas Kinkade kiosk stores became common fixtures in many shopping malls across the country. By the mid-1990s, Kinkade enthusiasts could purchase mugs, calendars, soap, bed linens and other reproductions of his artwork.
Although Kinkade is celebrated by his fans and remembered by many as “… a generous man, who inspired others and will missed,” he also had a darker side. In 2010, Kinkade was arrested and spent the night in jail after being charged with a DUI. Kinkade pleaded no contest. It appears that most of Kinkade’s troubles were alcohol-related.
According to L.A. Now, many former employees and gallery owners shared some unsavory details about Kinkade in sworn testimonies and interviews. Here are five dark accusations against the painter of light.
- Defrauding two former gallery owners
- Urinating on a statue of Winnie the Pooh at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif.
- Heckling Siegfried & Roy at a Las Vegas event
- Touching a woman’s breasts at a signing party in South Bend, Ind.
- Cursing the wife of a former employee when she tried to help him after he fell off a bar stool
At the time of Kinkade’s death, his wife Nanette released the following statement to the press, “Thom provided a wonderful life for his family. We are shocked and saddened by his death.”