Thomas Kinkade, the wildly successful artist whose cheesy paintings adorn budget hotels from coast to coast, has died at the age of 54. The cause of death has not been revealed.
The self-described "Painter of Light" produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes in dewy morning light that were beloved by many but criticized by the art establishment. Kinkade died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, said family spokesman David Satterfield. He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States. Those light-infused renderings are often prominently displayed in buildings, malls, and on products — generally depicting tranquil scenes with lush landscaping and streams running nearby. Many contain images from Bible passages.Kinkade was known for being an extremely conservative Christian activist, but he was also known as crude drunk driving alcoholic who would grab at women's breasts and heckle other artists at their shows. He was also fond of "marking his territory" by pissing on the work of others. Like the time he urinated on a Disneyland Winnie The Pooh statue while shouting, "This one's for you, Walt!" Unlike his work, the dude was not boring.