Thomas Kinkade, painter

February 9, 2009
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I'm all for populist art. But I'll readily admit to being a bit embarrassed for the city that Thomas Kinkade, the much-collected -- and much-mocked -- "painter of light," has been named the featured artist for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway three-year Centennial Era celebration. The festivities kick off with a gala later this month.

Kinkade will create a new work that wil serve as the cover for the
Indianapolis 500 Program.

“Imagine an image that details the running of the Indy 500 – but incorporates the cars from the past through today!” Kinkade stated in a press release. “It will include the magnificence of the famous Pagoda, the historical significance of the Brickyard – and of course the city of Indianapolis in the distance."

No word of whether or not there will be a cottage involved.

Brace yourself for the unveiling on Feb. 27.
  • WTF?
  • I second C-dub.
  • Laughing out LOUD...

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit dot com
  • This IS an embarrassment for the city. The IMS has shown a complete lack of sophistication when it comes to visual culture lately. I'm from Speedway. I love the track and all of its traditions. I attend the 500 every year. But I have to say, when the contemporary visual culture (logos, pamphlets, tickets, website, etc.) of the IMS is compared to say, F1, it is easy to tell which organization understands the power of design, hires people who are visually sophisticated/trained designers, and is world-class, aesthetically speaking.
  • Thomas Kinkade has a NASCAR painting for the Daytona 500... I don't usually watch NASCAR, but have a boyfriend who watches a lot of the Speed channel, and they were plugging the painting (limited edition!) for a while.
    Here's the link:
  • Also agreeing with C-Dub - Seriously? Kinkade???? I suppose his antics of breast grabbing and public urination connect well with the old snakepit days, but his art is just embarrassing. What's next? Kenny G playing the national anthem???
  • The worst was that another daily business newsletter announced that in the headline that it was the IMA! that was working w/Kinkade.
  • Oh, and you can purchase a print and when he comes to a mall near you he'll dab some white paint onto it to provide that special highlighting glow that he's so famous for.

    So sad and a slap in the face to some wonderful Indiana artists.
  • Saccharine, the name of an artificial sweetener, is the perfect word to describe Kinkade's work. Featuring it in connection with the race will simply enhance the stereotype of a 500 fan as lacking class and being unsophisticated.
  • C'mon Indy 500 people? Are you really that out of touch? Kincade? Really?! There has to be more to this. Surely they cannot be that stupid.
  • I agree with kries' point entirely -- why not choose a local artist?? I know of a number of studios/galleries around town (not to mention the Herron art school at IUPUI) who could help get them a few names of artists in Indianapolis who do their fair share of Indianapolis-themed art. Unless that NASCAR thing did some pretty good sales and he wants to cross over to Indy Car racing fans...
  • What a total lack of originality. Not only was it Kinkade, the idea was copying NASCAR's. They are going to have the audience whether the artist is Kinkade or not; might as well take the opportunity to raise the aesthetic bar and still be populist.

    Even Peter Max would have been a better choice. I also remind the Speedway that the wonderful artist Alexander Calder once painted an airplane for a promotion.
  • Ugh! Another Hoosier sickness! No liquor on Sundays, no Casino in INDY, now we have to endure the sugar coated works of another one who has seen the light! What happened to original that inspires, art that cuts the edges...I used to think there couldn't be anything worse than Leroy Niemans countless scribbles in paint!
  • I, too, saw the Inside Indiana Business e-newsletter that claimed the IMA selected Kinkade. It made me choke on my morning coffee. I'm sure the IMA folks are still waving ammonia capsules under their noses to revive themselves from that little shock. Then when I realized it was the IMS that selected Kinkade, it all made sense. Never let it be said that motor racing people have good taste in art.
  • The Speedway used to do so much better in the selection of art and graphics than this. This is really a lousy choice of a down market, overpriced artist for a major event.
  • Did any of you look at the NASCAR drawing via the link posted by RB? Or are you just mouthing off because most of Kincaid's work belongs at Kress's 5 & Dime? It is just so darn cute of a picture. With the planes flying overhead and flags waving (patriotic), kid on Dad's shoulder (so Rockwellian) and of course his signature light coming out from behind the clouds at almost all angles (artistic license). Yes Marco it is another sugar coated work. And seriously Seriously, doesn't it make your heart go pitter-patter thinking about it?
  • As much as I hate to say it, I will side with Da Hooey and his minions when he decides to comment on this assinine development. Tony George has lost what little of his mind he had left. A total embarrassment..........Like the previous posters, why couldn't they have had a competition of local artists and promoted it through the art community? Even someone like David Uhl who did the poster for the speedway last year would have been better than Kincade!
  • This is a local artistic travesty and I echo all of the preceding. There is so much local talent in a variety of media, it's deplorable but understandable. Kincade is a globally recognizable commercial name, probably resonating with the racing crowd who would have trouble with paint by numbers if the numbers went above 5.

    Remember the IMS also spent a gazillion dollars on Gene Simmons of KISS for 'promotion.' A true musical talent???!!!
  • To comment on BerwickGuy above - Just about anybody would be better than Kincade. This is too sad to even comment any further.
    What a joke.
  • The fact that HELLO, NASCAR ALREADY USED KINKADE makes this decision twice as bad.
  • This is such depressing news...I've lost a lot of respect for the Indy they they make such a faux pas? Who is making these horrible decisions? Gag!
  • Aw, c'mon. Tom is an upstanding citizen. He deserves this commission! What a total frickin' joke.
  • Seriously? (Checks watch and confirms that it is not April 1st)

    *Shoulders slump*
  • What I can't get over is how many people seem to think that this decision is such a travesty! Would anyone be on here crying had the IMS not made a decision to commission anyone at all? I hardly think so. And now that they HAVE chosen someone (who, contrary to the seemingly popular opinion of this particular thread DOES have quite a loyal following) this is somehow supposed to reflect badly on the image of an entire city?!?!? Me thinks thou art a bunch of DRAMA QUEENS!!!!
  • really guys, who would have been better? i think its a great fit! the specific light from the green glass of the new tower will be more realisticly represented by kinkade than, lets say, brian priest or casey roberts..... c'mon guys - it needs to look nice not good.
  • caliboy28,

    The selection of Thomas Kinkade is equivalent to selecting the designer of the Precious Moments figurines. I am not joking.

    The loyal following of Thomas Kinkade you speak of is our grandmas. If that's the audience the 500 is trying to attract, so be it.

    Quadruple exclamation points + All caps = Drama Queen ;-)



    Your comment that it needs to look nice not good is astonishing. I have no idea what that means.


    Some of you have got stop playing defense every time something is legitimately criticized.
  • Thomas Kinkade is the greatest painter be traded on the NYSE. He is also the ONLY trader to be traded on the NYSE but none the less....

    I would much rather see what someone like Brian Priest would do with this, but you don't have to go to the opposite extreme (conceptually) to find someone that most artists would find less objectionable than Kinkade.
  • Imagine, Anne Geddes getting the commission. It could have evoked the old Michelin tire commercials. Or, little babies' heads in the place hubcaps.

    It could have been worse...
  • Is anyone truly surprised? The IMS also brings back Florence Henderson year after year to shriek tuneless, nasal renditions of patriotic songs - simultaneously embarrassing the Speedway and the country. These are not people with taste.
  • Hey Brian,

    While I understand your distaste for Kinkade and agree, I don't think your criticism of Ms. Henderson is quite fair. She has appeared in numerous Broadway Plays over the years. And, just last year, she was invited to appear on the QEII as the featured performer and singer. While her singing style may not appeal to you and that is fair, her appearance at the 500 has more to do with tradition than anything else. Fans like to remember Jim Nabors, Flo Henderson, and when rarely they can still hear him, Tom Carnegie.
  • Indianapolis at its best. That's why it makes it the worst city for the arts. Don't be surprised, that's why Indianapolis is what it is. Embrace your blandness. It is your identity don't run from it.
  • Who ever was involved with this should be embarrass.
    If they're not embarrass , I am.
    Artist James Wille Faust
  • With all the installation art in the new airport, public art of Otterness, Ophie, and Booker, we WERE doing so good...
  • LeRoy Nieman is still alive. Couldn't they have just gone with him and be done with it?

    I second (third, fourth?) the suggestion that the folks at IMS seem to be void of taste in general. Another site I read mentioned Wayne Newton as a performer at the unveiling.

    I do draw the line at taking potshots at Florence Henderson, though. She's a Hoosier treasure.
  • I'd like to preface by saying that Thomas Kinkade's art is not my taste. I am also not a race fan. That being said, he IS the most collected living artist in our country and has been for many years. No doubt there are other artists who could do an excellent job with a rendition of the Indy 500--Possibly even local artists. But why wouldn't they want Kinkade to do such a painting. He is a household name. Whether you love his work or hate it or don't care, you know who he is--or at least have heard of him.

    I also have worked in a Kinkade gallery and know first hand that his following is not just little old ladies. The people who take his work home range in age from early 20's to almost dead! The average collector (one who buys more than one canvas) is probably in the mid thirties!!!

    Any organization, whether in racing or elsewhere, would be foolish not to attempt to bring a variety of people into interest for whatever they are selling. I am sorry, but institution or not, IMS is selling!!!!!!!!! They have to sell tickets. They have to promote--and not just locally! I know fans of racing, Indy or Nascar or whatever, are very proud of the sport and the drivers, etc. etc....

    But you all need to get a grip!! You may not like it, but let's be reasonable. You surely can understand why your organization would want to do this!
  • *groan*
  • Excellent post, keep it up

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