By William Markiewicz

"Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade, puts his DNA in his signature. Expert craftsmen trained by the artist, or the artist himself, add a 'highlight' to the prints, by hand. Whose touch it is may be indistinguishable, but the difference is enough to make a horrendous difference in price. Nothing new after all, the Renaissance masters had their flocks of apprentices; but what we see now on the market is the addition of the genetic-PR package to glittering effects, meaning the spectator doesn't have to search the depth. Am I against the epidermic sensibility? Of course not, only against ignoring the mysterious threshold that separates knee-jerk collective enthusiasm from genuine personal sensitivity. Sometimes indeed we cannot distinguish good from bad. Koestler once asked Japanese intellectuals: "Can you distinguish between good and bad Haiku?" They chuckled, "No, but perhaps you, who come from Cambridge, can." The question is irrelevant. There is no formula for good or bad Haiku or 'bad' and 'good' in general. Probably we can learn from teachers what is good for us on the social level and what is good for ourselves we learn first, or at least distill, through our own intuition.

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