Billion Dollar Painter

  • by G. Eric Kuskey
  • Narrated by Jim Meskimen
  • 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The unbelievable true story of artist Thomas Kinkade, self-described "Painter of Light," and the dramatic rise - and fall - of his billion-dollar gallery and licensing business.
He was just one man, but Thomas Kinkade ultimately made more money from his art than every other artist in the history of the world combined. His sentimental paintings of babbling brooks, rural churches surrounded by brilliant fall foliage, and idyllic countryside cottages were so popular in the 1990s that it is estimated that one out of every 20 homes in America owned one of his prints. With the help of two partners - a former vacuum-cleaner salesman and an ambitious junior accountant who fancied himself a businessman - Kinkade turned his art into a billion-dollar gallery and licensing business that traded on the New York Stock Exchange before it collapsed in 2006 amid fraud accusations.
One part fascinating business story about the rise and demise of a financial empire born out of divine inspiration, one part dramatic biography, Billion Dollar Painter is the account of three nobodies who made it big. One was a man who, despite being a devout Christian who believed his artwork was a spiritual force that could cure the sick and comfort the poor in spirit, could not save his art empire - or himself.
G. Eric Kuskey, former colleague of Thomas Kinkade and close friend until the artist's death in 2012, tells Kinkade's story for the first time, from his art's humble beginnings on a sidewalk in Carmel, California, to his five-house compound in Monte Sereno. It's a tale of addiction and grief, of losing control, and ultimately, of the price of our dreams.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very enlightening - pun intended

If you could sum up Billion Dollar Painter in three words, what would they be?

More Tragedy than Triumph

What other book might you compare Billion Dollar Painter to and why?

Can't think of one

Have you listened to any of Jim Meskimen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not that I know of. I thought his performance was very good. I don't remember much about it which is what makes it good. What should be remembered is the story, not the narrator. If they can fade into the background, or seem as if the author is talking to you, I think that is a successful narration.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It just made me sad. What a waste of talent.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed hearing about the life of Thomas Kinkade. I watched his rise and fall but I didn't really know the whole story. I certainly had never heard he was an alcoholic. I thought the fact that the book was written by a friend who saw much of what happened first hand made it a better book. He was able to portray Thomas Kinkade in an honest and sympathetic way. Even if you aren't that familiar with Thomas Kinkade's art it is a story worth telling and listening to. It is sad to say that so many creative people have problems in business and in their personal life.

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- Julie B "blondie"

A wonderful telling of a tragic story

The story gives an insider's view of Thomas Kinkade. It was well crafted and I appreciate the story being told by someone who was there rather than someone' account based on news reports and a few interviews. Jim Meskimen is a masterful narrator who conveys a story with clarity and warmth. He is one of the best.
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- Richard W.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.