By Merritt Kinkade
Walking into Thomas Kinkade’s studio, there is a feeling of wonderment that falls upon you. It is a distinct energy that is tough to pinpoint, but there is no denying it. The creative exuberance of Thomas Kinkade is still in those walls.
THE HISTORY OF THE STUDIO
My father discovered the studio back in 1995, it was a residential home yet he saw the charm and potential for his workspace. He marched up to the front door and asked the present owners if he could buy the home from them. After several back and forths, they finally caved. Surrounded by redwood trees and mossy brick, “Ivy Gate,” as my dad nicknamed the studio, was built in the 1930’s and lies discreetly tucked into the hills of the Santa Cruz mountains. There is ivy surrounding the home and luscious fruit trees. Several years after attaining Ivy Gate, my dad vaulted the ceilings of the main room to create his ideal painting atelier. The home itself is filled with art, figurines, thousands of books, and relics from all over the world.
From the day my father passed away in April 2012, the studio sat empty. Scribbled notes and used paintbrushes all as he had left them. Once in a blue moon, my mother Nanette would build up the courage to come over and check on the place, but seeing the studio without its master was almost too much to bare.
When we started working for The Kinkade Family Foundation full time in November 2015, we began to crack open those locked doors filled with memories, both happy and painful. The minute we stepped into the studio for the first time it was almost as if we could hear my dad saying, “come on in kids, I’ve got something to show ya….”. He was always excited to show off his latest painting or project.
We soon discovered that some major work needed to be done to the studio, it was in pretty poor condition. There was a large leak in the roof which rotted out part of the garage, the home had a busted HVAC system and a few windows needed to be repaired. That’s not to mention the home was infested with rats, spiders and mold. The place was dirty, dark, and packed with clutter from the last 20 years.
GETTING TO WORK
Well, we’ve been working hard over the last year and putting in some major manual labor. A lot of sorting, organizing, and cleaning has taken place and the rats are mostly gone. We are thrilled to announce that the studio is now the official headquarters for The Kinkade Family Foundation!
We have left the most of the studio “as is” and only moved a few things around to make it more functional and workable. In the months ahead, we’ll be posting more pictures and details from the studio and our day to day life working here. This new phase has been healing and inspiring, and most of all, we are all contributing to the rebirth of a space which inspired the great talent of Thomas Kinkade.