RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Alex Schmidt reports that Kinkade's business troubles haven't hurt his sales.
ALEX SCHMIDT: A Thomas Kinkade can make you feel like you're strolling down a cobblestone path, to a cozy cottage with smoke puffing out the chimney.
ANNIE KAYNE: When I look at a Thomas Kinkade picture, I get a warm, soft, cozy feeling like I want to go into wherever that is and be part of it.
SCHMIDT: Annie Kayne was window shopping outside a gallery in Irvine, California, that carries Thomas Kinkade. She's a particular fan of his winter scenes, which feature perfect blankets of snow over peaceful gardens - and of course snow covered cottages lit from within.
AMI DAVIS: Well, I think it harkens back to an imagined past, before cities, before crowds, before traffic, before the stresses of everyday life.
SCHMIDT: UCLA'S Ami Davis wrote her masters thesis on Kinkade.
DAVIS: I've heard of, you know, almost quasi-religious experiences with some of these paintings.
SCHMIDT: Terry Sheppard was a longtime colleague of Kinkade's, and testified in lawsuits gallery owners brought against the artist.
TERRY SHEPPARD: It's very disappointing when any individual professes a worldview that's about peace, love, joy, family, and then ends up taking a position that is contradictory.
SCHMIDT: To add to the artist's troubles, earlier this year, Kinkade was arrested for a DUI, and his mug shot made its way around the Internet. Still, he continues to sell.
MARTY BROWN: I've been carrying Thomas Kinkade for over 22 years.
SCHMIDT: Marty Brown is co-owner of the Village Gallery in Irvine.
BROWN: And the fact that he's been selling with such regularity for such a long time is unprecedented.
SCHMIDT: Company COO Frank Turrell.
FRANK TURRELL: What's compelling about this brand is, over the course of time, about 25 million people have purchased some kind of Kinkade product. That's an incredible footprint.
SCHMIDT: Turrell says the company has changed.
TURRELL: There's an enormous amount of demand out there for Tom's products.
SCHMIDT: New plans entail building partnerships with the likes of Disney and Warner Brothers, and strengthening direct to consumer avenues, like QVC. Not that any of it matters to a longtime fan like Annie Kayne.
KAYNE: This is the first I've heard that he's going bankrupt. And I don't look upon his paintings any different. I won't.
SCHMIDT: For NPR News, I'm Alex Schmidt.
MONTAGNE: And this is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
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