THOMAS KINKADE: THE DARKER SIDE OF LIGHT
With the death of Thomas Kinkade, the stories and scandals surrounding the artist are unavoidable As with any public figure, all eyes are trained on the lone personality in the spotlight, the one who stands center stage.
In a way, we as a society secretly wish for public figures to stumble or fall. We delight in scandals. We gasp in mock horror when tales of infidelity or other stories of excess are cracked wide open, scrambling our preconceived notions of what our artistic heroes are or should be. Jealousy fans the flames of fallen fame.
Darkness is the underbelly of light. Most would say the opposite, and one cannot exist without the other. To get light, we must have darkness; without bad, there cannot be good. But, rather than standing in opposition, it’s more of a continuum, a spectrum.
Kinkade is not the first artist, nor will he be the last, to channel darkness and turn it into light. Demons of addiction or mental illness torment many artists whether painter or poet, writer or renaissance person. Many artists eventually succumb to their afflictions, drowning in alcohol or drugs, or surrendering to the darkness, allowing it to overtake and consume them.
But here’s the thing:
Tapping into the darkness and bringing forth hidden thoughts, impulses and secrets into the light, is a difficult talent. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s frightening. So frightening, in fact, the average person either cannot or will not do it. It takes an artist to skillfully convert the darkness, or at the very least, express it in a way that makes the viewer think or feel at the most primal level.
Darkness can be harnessed and tamed, sublimated to the background, yet hovering just below the surface. This creates shadows, captured darkness that undergoes a metamorphosis, creating a surreal sensory experience.
Vincent van Gogh is the artist who comes to mind when ruminating upon the play of light and dark, a tortured soul. This is the artist who battled the demons of depression for years to transform his darkness into beauty. His Starry Night is luminosity within the darkness. For no matter how dark it gets, there is always light waiting on the other side. His Starry Night Over The Rhone reflects the light upon the still, dark waters.
Light is always there, no matter how faint or scattered, to shine its brilliance upon a soul.