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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.
©2014 G. Eric Kuskey (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Julie B on 11-12-14

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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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By MSS on 07-15-16

WOW- very good and very bad at the same time

Would you try another book from G. Eric Kuskey and/or Jim Meskimen?


What could G. Eric Kuskey have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Find an editor, then listened to her. Stop repeating, not only events, but the exact terms and overwrought adjectives used to describe them. Stop writing a non-fiction book in the prosaic language of Steinbeck. It was a pistol in the hands of a toddler. You used omniscient narration in a non-fiction book, in scenes at which you were not even present, describing the inner thoughts and feelings of characters in absurd flowery detail. Stop ignoring redundancy and alliteration: "my empathic pang of the pain...".

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

Very good narration.

Could you see Billion Dollar Painter being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Danny McBride

Any additional comments?

This was a very interesting and well structured non-fiction story, but you'll have to sift through a cluttered "swap meet" of silly writing to find it. Virtually no editing seems to have been done. Some motifs were repeated four or five times using the exact same language. The POV flopped from omnisciently describing the inner emotions of a character alone to a suddenly austere, first-person witness blithely unaware of another's motives. The story was good. The audible performance too. But my god, the repetition. And also the repetition. And did I mention the...

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Julie Artist on 03-04-18


There are very few audio books I have listened to more than once; I have listened to this three times now. The story is both fascinating and tragic, a story of an artist with great talent and success but also a story of human frailty and self doubt. There were two versions of Thomas Kinkade, the first was the carefully crafted public image and the second one haunted by insecurities and darker thoughts. Thomas Kinkade was the richest and most successful ever living artist yet many people haven’t heard of him. This is a story that proves happiness comes from within, and money and success are only external. Ultimately if you can’t accept yourself life will always be difficult. Despite having it all it wasn’t enough, hard to listen to but well written.

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