About Thomas Kinkade Studios
A Legacy of Light
Thomas Kinkade, the famed “Painter of Light,” loved to share his passion for art and his creative process with other artists throughout his career. Thom believed in supporting artist development and exchanged ideas with artists. Through this collaborative environment, Thom passed down his methods and imparted the techniques, concepts and vision for his signature Kinkadian style.
Today, the artists of the Thomas Kinkade Studios apply many of the same techniques created and used by Thom during his lifetime; from sketching to digital and oil brushwork, to image recapture and his use of light. Over time, these mastered skills have evolved into a Kinkadian style of art adored by art collectors around the world.
Meet Thomas Kinkade Studios
Get to know the extrodinary group of individuals who make up Thomas Kinkade Studios.
1958 – 2012 In the very beginning of his artistic career, Thomas Kinkade put his entire life savings into the printing of his first lithograph. Though at the time he was already an acclaimed illustrator, Thom found that he was inspired not by fame and fortune, but by the simple act of painting straight from the heart, putting on canvas the natural wonders and images that moved him most.
Throughout his life Thomas Kinkade shared his joy and used his paints in support of hospitals, schools, and humanitarian relief. Though the recipient of countless awards and honors, it was Thom’s profound sense of purpose that his art was not just an accessory, but also a ministry, that continues on as his legacy. From custom images that were sold for The Salvation Army, Hurricane Katrina relief, Rotary International, to donations that now grace the halls of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the White House, The Vatican, and Britain’s Tate Museum, Thom raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over his lifetime for charity.
Thom’s dearest wish had always been that his artwork would be a messenger of hope and inspiration to others – a message to slow down, appreciate the little details in life, and to look for beauty in the world around us. As millions of collectors around the world sit back and enjoy his artwork in their homes, there is no doubt that Thomas Kinkade had indeed achieved his goal of Sharing the Light.
Dirk’s interest in drawing Disney characters came at an early age. He was eight years old when Disneyland opened in 1955. Dirk became inspired by the art and sent Walt Disney Studios what he thought were fabulous drawings of their characters.
In the early 80’s, Dirk began to design advertising layouts and catalogs for Disney’s non-theatrical film rental division. That opportunity would lead to work on the launch of The Disney Channel. There Dirk created an image of Mickey from ‘Fantasia’ that showed Mickey pointing up to the channel’s logo. This artwork would soon be used on posters, ads and brochures.
After freelancing for some time, Dirk met Thomas Kinkade who saw real talent and took him under his wing. Through several years of working under Thom’s direction, perfecting his techniques and styles, Dirk became a Thomas Kinkade Studios Legacy Artist.
One of Dirk’s most memorable moments with Thom was accompanying him and his wife at Disney World for its Thirty-Fifth Anniversary to unveil” A New Day at the Cinderella Castle”. As the three made their way down Main Street in a vintage car, they were greeted by hundreds of Disney collectors.
Kristen Barthelman is the Vice President of Licensing and Artist Management at Art Brand Studios. She joined the Company in 2007 as a Licensing Marketing Manager. Kristen currently manages over 50 licensing partners representing our portfolio of artists and sublicensed properties. Kristen strives to build strong relationships with exceptional manufacturing partners representative of our top tier artists and brands.
Kristen has worked as a Sales and Marketing Category Manager for the home and home office website of Hewlett Packard and as a Product Manager/Buyer for the corporate offices of JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts, a retail chain of over 900 stores.
Kristen graduated from Kent State University where she earned an MBA and her undergraduate degree is from Philadelphia University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Design.
In her spare time away from Art Brand Studios, Kristen enjoys volunteering, cheering on her children as well as Cleveland sports teams and spending time with her family, friends and six rescued pets
One afternoon in 1997, a mutual friend from church had learned Thomas Kinkade was looking for a new personal assistant and instantly thought that Denise’s background at the bank, along with her strict adherence to details would make her the ideal candidate. One interview later Denise was ready to tackle her new career and challenge of working alongside the famous painter Thomas Kinkade. What she didn’t realize is that she was much more than an assistant, she was the keeper of all artistic records, better known as a historian.
Being the historian is not a “job” but a privilege according to Denise. The experience of working with Thom for almost 15 years gave her a front row seat to his unique genius. It is her duty to preserve his legacy, which according to Denise is, “…not only was he a great painter but first and foremost he was a doting family man. He always wanted his art to connect directly to the viewer but, he also, wanted his art accessible to everyone. Thom considered the legion of collectors to be part of his extended family. This was the driving force for he and Nanette to start their publishing company. My role is not to just keep his art “alive”, but to reinforce his passion for connecting with human emotions.”
Guadalupe Delgado, or “Lupe” as she goes by at the Studio, always dreamed of being an artist. At the age of 19, with no professional artistic training, she started working at the Thomas Kinkade Studios in the Production Department. In this position, Lupe fell in love with the paintings she was working on, and she was captivated by Thom’s profound use of light and color.
Lupe’s love for the artwork quickly turned into a passion, and she observed the process of painting. Again, and again, she inquired about openings in the art department, and eventually perseverance paid off and she was given a chance. Lupe started working on highlighting a canvas and it instantaneously came naturally to her. Her peers noticed her passion for exquisite detail and how she would completely submerge herself into a painting. It didn’t take long for Lupe to be promoted, and she soon found herself working on Special Editions right next to Thomas Kinkade himself. Now after years of hard work and dedication, she oversees the Highlighting Department at Thomas Kinkade Studios and is a Master Highlighter.
Lupe’s favorite moment as a Master Highlighter was when she received a hand-written letter from a collector who was so grateful for the work Lupe had done. It was a response to a question that she had always wondered, did her work mean anything to anyone out there? That very letter is what drives Lupe to put all her love into her work day in and day out.
Dr. Patrick Kinkade
Dr. Patrick Kinkade, brother of Thomas Kinkade, received his Bachelor degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in Psychology and Anthropology, his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles, and his PhD in Social Ecology and Research Methodology at the University of California at Irvine. He is currently a full professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas.
Since 1995, Pat has been an integral part of the Thomas Kinkade Studios. His personal passion is writing travel and children’s books of which he has published four- all under the Thomas Kinkade Studios brand. One of the most popular books, Chasing the Horizon, was co-authored with his brother, Thom. Most recently, Pat serves as a Thomas Kinkade Studios Studio Artist, working with Thomas Kinkade Galleries and their collectors in the very popular Generations Tour, where he acts as an ambassador for his brother’s message of hope, joy and inspiration through art.
Zachary Thomas Kinkade, Thomas Kinkade’s nephew, was born in 1991 and has been passionate about art his entire life. At the age of 11, Zachary began entering and winning national and regional art competitions and shows and has since gained regional, national international recognition for his work as well. As a teenager, Zac attended the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Art in preparation of formal university training the arts. During this time, Zac began apprenticing at the Thomas Kinkade Studios to explore his own aesthetic vision. Zac continued this relationship while attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he eventually graduated with honors from that academy’s prestigious school of art and architecture. Following in his uncle’s footsteps and in service of his own life as an artist, Zac attended the internationally known Art Center School of Design in Pasadena California. Zac has taken a position as a publishing artist for Art Brand Studios and is rapidly starting his own legacy with pencil and brush.
An award-winning painter and former Art Gallery owner, Scott Smith received his formal art education at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and has established himself as both a talented artist and a trusted product development expert in the fine art community.
Scott was elected to the Advisory Board of the American Academy of Art in 1995, and in 2005 to the steering committee of this prestigious institution. Throughout Scott’s illustrious career as a fine artist he has been featured in high-profile art events and installations, has won numerous awards, and has been invited to judge many fine art shows.
As a Creative Director and Product Development Professional, Scott has designed many top-selling products and has worked with numerous nationally known artists and licenses, including Thomas Kinkade. Reflecting on his work with Thomas Kinkade, Scott has shared, “I could see the genius in Thom during our brainstorming sessions. His mind worked quickly, coming up with many very successful ideas. He was always about seven steps ahead of everybody else in the room.”
After working with the Thomas Kinkade brand for over 20 years, developing many successful programs, Scott was honored to accept a role as a Thomas Kinkade Studios Artist. This opportunity enables him to utilize his fine art talents and carry on Thomas Kinkade’s legacy of making the world a better place through uplifting art.
Ali Adams has always found inspiration in Thomas Kinkade’s artwork and is honored to be a member of the Thomas Kinkade Studios. As the Studios’ Production Design Coordinator, Ali is a color specialist, preparing each Limited Edition Art Release before its final introduction to collectors. Ali’s role is to capture a painting, ensuring that each Limited Edition Artwork is a perfect reproduction of the artists’ original.
Ali began her career as a professional photographer and designer, capturing special moments that could be treasured for a lifetime. Her creative talents led her to the Thomas Kinkade Studios brand as a Product Coordinator, and she enjoyed working closely with the art as she prepared home decor and collectibles for online display. Ali immediately connected with Thomas Kinkade’s paintings, sharing, “They make me want to live there. The details and color are inviting. The beautiful skies with vibrant colors take my breath away.” Presented with the chance to carry on Thom’s legacy of bringing joy to the world, Ali was happy for the opportunity to be a part of the Thomas Kinkade Studios.
Ali’s favorite Thomas Kinkade Studios painting is “Wine Country Living”, and in her spare time she enjoys photographing people and watching movies. She loves to spend time with her husband and their two dogs, Coco and Chloe. Ali loves children and cherishes the time she can spend with her three nieces, whom she helped to raise. Her contributions in creating uplifting art for others is mirrored by the way she lives her life. Always an upbeat and motivational person, Ali finds joy in helping others and encourages everyone to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. Her personal mantras are, “Don’t give up, try again”, and, “Believe in yourself that you can do all things.”