Who are the other Thomas Kincades out there, in painting and in other arts?

Who produces art of dubious quality out of basically some kind of factory or franchise system, or just somehow manages to put out huge loads of the same stuff through mysterious means? It seems Tom Clancy went that route somewhen along the line, with all his Op Center crap. His is the only name that comes readily to mind for me, but surely there must be others.

Damn, there shouldn’t be an apostrophe in that title! Eh, WTF, good enough.

Jon McNaughton. His work is especially popular in right-wing circles.

I’ve heard of him. I knew he sucked by I didn’t realize he’d made quite the industry out if it. Who buys that “patriotic American Jesus” shit? If I saw one of those on a wall in some business I would just turn around and leave. I would already know I didn’t want to do any business with them.

Chihuly, Inc, totally.

I actually met him once, maybe 20 years ago. Seemed like an okay guy. As opposed to Robert Rauschenberg, who was an alcoholic dick.

Doesn’t make him a good artist, nor Rauschenberg a bad one.

No, even the fact the I like Chihuly’s glass better doesn’t make him a better artist. Maybe I have shitty taste.

Virtually every formerly “hot” comic book artist runs a side business selling commissions or tacky “fine art” paintings. It’s really sad to see the Frank Brunners, Rich Bucklers and Steve Rudes reduced to this, but they need retirement bucks like the rest of us, I suppose. The ones from the same era who are still in demand have to be thinking “There but for the grace of God…”

Really? I always thought it was the other way around. These guys would prefer to be selling paintings for a living but most of them don’t have the customer base for it. So they work in comic books, which is more work and less prestige and money. I thought people like Brunner, Buckler, or Rude were regarded as the lucky few who made it out of the grind.

How about Leroy Neiman?

The Sterns’ The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste lisdts Leroy Neiman. Also Morris Katz, of whom I had never heard:

And, of course, Walter and Margaret Keane, with their huge-eyed kids:

Katz and WAter Keane are gone, but Neiman and Margaret Keane are still around. And, I think, still painting.

If most of your commissions involve hard-nipple sketches of Black Widow, you’re stuck in a very different kind of grind.

I’d count Jeff Koons. From Wikipedia, “He gained recognition in the 1980s and subsequently set up a factory-like studio in a SoHo loft on the corner of Houston and Broadway in New York. It was staffed with over 30 assistants, each assigned to a different aspect of producing his work—in a similar mode as Andy Warhol’s Factory (notable because all of his work is produced using a method known as Art fabrication). Today, he has a 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq ft) factory in Chelsea with 90 regular assistants. Koons developed a color-by-numbers system, so that each of his assistants could execute his canvases and sculptures as if they had been done ‘by a single hand’.”

I don’t think the Op Center books were written by Clancy though, if that matters…

For fiction writers, I would have to put Dean Koontz on this list.


Well, there’s V.C. Andrews, best known for the incestuous romance/Gothic horror series of books beginning with “Flowers in the Attic.” After she died, a ghostwriter was hired to continue her works under her name, and her estate has apparently cranked out nearly a couple dozen different miniseries of books (dunno if the incest theme continues or not) “by” V.C. Andrews.

I’m pretty sure there have been a few series of child/pre-teen-aimed books that were ghostwritten by whoever would crank out a book or a dozen. Looks like The Hardy Boys qualify, as well as Nancy Drew - name on the book wasn’t the real writer (or maybe only wrote part), lots of writers behind the scenes, etc.

I remember an article I read many years ago, about “Franklin W. Dixon,” i.e. the real guy (I don’t remember his name) who wrote a lot of the Hardy Boys stuff before it grew into a franchise-like, team effort. It drew heavily on interviews with his now-grown children. Based on what they said, the guy’s life was actually kind of sad, although not altogether different from your standard tale of the frustrated artist. Dude knew he was producing dreck and always wanted to write real literature, but the need to pay the bills and keep the family fed kept him shackled to the series long after he was sick of it. His kids seemed to think that he lived much of his life feeling sad and frustrated because he was always this close to a dream that forever went unfulfilled.

I can’t vouch for the quality of his work, but James Pattersonis often just the name on the cover of many of his books.

Tom Clancy has turned his name into a commodity with OpCenter, Net Force, etc, but I don’t know the extent to which he claims those books are his.

I took it out.

Hummel figurines, and those figurines without faces – sorry, I don’t know what they’re called. A friend collects them. However, I don’t know if one person is responsible or if they’re a franchise.