Thomas Kinkade, Artist

“Thomas Kinkade: Painter of Light” is the title of a real show. It is on my television right now. It features America’s favorite nostalgia-dauber, Thomas Kinkade, with an overgrown soulpatch that ate most of his chin. He wears a green button-down shirt and a black blazer. His hair is highlighted and slicked back.

The Painter of Light

A young woman stands next to him and sighs every time he says the word “inspiring.” She is all enthusiasm. Here is what Thomas Kinkade says while selling three paintings evocatively titled “The Spring Gate,” “Beyond the Spring Gate” and “Gardens Beyond the Spring Gate”:

If you’re one of those people who love romance novels, who dreams life just a little better than it is every day. …  I am a romantic. I make no apology for that. When we get right down to it, life is about loving others, and I try to share a little love, a little joy, for others. …

“Yes!” the lady says. “We are all romantics at heart.”

This is the most romantic gate in the world:

Spring Gate

The next painting, the lady excitedly informs us, is of a chapel. Thomas Kinkade chimes in to reveal, in a stream-of-consciousness series of non sequiturs, that “generic” is the new “classic,” that you know you’ve made it as an icon when there is a puzzle of you, and that you can stick your grubby fingers all over his “art” because it is laminated. It is also full of faith and snow. Plus which, it is cheap.

It’s a mountain chapel, and it truly suggests our faith. In fact that one is getting a little glare [waves at the camera so it hits the glass from a different angle]. Our faith is described as a mountain. … The mountain is like a symbol of faith, that solid rock on which we stand, and the light is pouring from the heavens, the snow pours down the mountain, the enduring stone. This is iconic. I am not exaggerating when I say this has been reproduced hundreds of thousands of times in puzzles, in Hallmark cards. It is a classic. It’s coated with polymer, you can touch the surface without damaging it. And look at that price; that includes the frame.

Oh Bob Ross, whither fled ye?

Fondly,

M

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