Let's talk January. We have the end of the holiday season, smack dab in the middle of winter, no celebrations in the near future and for many, breaks are just about over and school must commence. Ugh. Sorry January. I really don't mean to rag on you, but when it's been -20 degrees outside consistently, with WIND (as an added bonus) and causing you to hate moving any part of your body because you're freezing to death internally, then you can't expect to have yourself a fan club. Unless you love winter, and you're an eskimo, and you have 10 inches of fat all over your body.
But life goes on and we have to find ways to keep ourselves perky, friendly and ready to get up each morning. Mine usually involves coffee (straight black with no cream or sugar) and strategically placing myself within an inch of the fire. I also have a new added element of excitement to look forward to - the Artful CHALLENGE! Remember those?? These were friendly challenges that myself and a fellow collage artist did where we competed against one another working off a theme, creating our masterpieces in our own style. You can read more about them in the earlier posts (April I believe..)
So here we are in a New Year and we have reignited that competitive edge (emphasis on FRIENDLY). The theme for the month of January was to create the 4 classical elements based off our interpretation. The 4 classical elements consist of Water, Fire, Air and Earth. Don't worry we looked these up so yes they are the real ones. (I had an argument with someone about this and they were adamant about Wind being involved but they didn't know what they were talking about and I told them that Google never lies.)
For both of us this has been our favorite challenge so far. For SO many reasons! I will share her views and comments, but me first. I appreciated that there were four separate pieces to create - my creative juices were on overload, but I think I did well by tying them all in together. We also thought it was a good idea to keep all four pieces the same size - this definitely added to the consistency. For my technique I wanted lots and lots of color and movement. Texture also creeped in to play a role, so the viewer gets a LOT all at once. I am never one to shy away from color because I think that really adds to the "WOW" factor. Go bold or go home seems to be my moto. HOWEVER, I did find myself wanting to have a little contrast in subtlety with Air. To me, Air is a delicate element and I didn't want it to be overpowering. It's everywhere all around us and we can occasionally get "glimpses" of it if we notice. Let me know what you guys think. Can you tell which one's which?
Next we have my very worthy opponent, Bambi! Bambi's technique is so incredible and unique. I really feel like her pieces tell a story and as she says, it's up to the viewer to play their part and decipher what's going on. She has a knack for placing elements together in a piece that captures your attention and beautifully plays off the other elements. I just love her elements and I think she did an exceptional job in her interpretation. So without further adieu, here are her thoughts on the challenge and the beautiful creations she came up with!
"After a long convalescence from some medical procedures, I'm back on board with our Collage Challenges! This challenge has been a real treat for me! For this Challenge we agreed to do 1 image each of the 4 Classical Elements: EARTH, FIRE, WATER & AIR.
I chose to use 10"x10" Watercolor Paper as my substrate, using mostly magazine papers for my collage pieces.
For my Earth I used an archeological dig as my inspiration, and then tried to carry that theme throughout the other 3 pieces, especially Fire. I also wanted to have all 4 pieces be a cohesive whole with each image complimenting one another. So Water & Air balances the Earth & Fire. I also mimicked the tiny rock climber in Earth with the tiny swimmer in Water.
I had a blast doing this Challenge! I like to include Faces in my work. As Shelby says "There is a story to tell in each one" and its true, but I leave that story telling to each viewer. I especially had fun with Fire, that was totally spontaneous and intuitive! I just love it when that happens!
I just love how Shelby and I have such a different approach in our work and it really shows in this Challenge! Her work is so full of colors, textures and energy! She thinks abstractly for her collages using beautiful handmade papers that really works well for her! I on other hand am more of a realist, I think in terms of images. So together our work is at once complimentary to each other's as well as shows how 2 very different collage artists can interpret the same theme!!
This was my favorite challenge so far, and we have already decided on our next challenge.....and I'm ready to go!!"
As Bambi mentioned, we already have our theme for February so stay tuned!!
Happy Happy New Year!
How is it already 2018. I swear time is flying the older I get (yes I know I sound just like my mother.) It is always fun to read and hear the reflections of others in a year that has past and what they hope to accomplish in the new one to come. Well this girl is NO DIFFERENT :) I have got loads of things I want to do for 2018 - some I already know about in the coming months and hopefully some new exciting ventures that are still a mystery. But I would also like to recap some exciting things that have happened to me in 2017, and what I hope to improve upon as a brand new 2018-er. Here are some of the notable accomplishments of Paper Figments for 2017:
-I was twice published: in the La Crosse Tribune, a local newspaper and L.I.N.K. Magazine, another local publication. (You can read them HERE!)
-A collaboration formed between Paper Figments and the Global Conservation Force. GCF is a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to bringing an end to animal extinction and illegal poaching through outreach and education programs, and direct action with on site protection of these creatures. Through the GCF series I created solely for this collaboration, all proceeds of the prints and note cards goes directly to the GCF to help them in continuing their fight. To date, a total of $945.55 has been donated - THANK YOU!
And to tie it all off, I was featured on a local news station WKBT in their "Eye Piece" series and interviewed about my (enthusiastic) relationship with paper! More importantly though, Bernie made her first debut in this special and she is now a diva who demands all the attention she feels she deserves.
I truly appreciate all of the support and love I have received and cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store for myself and Paper Figments. A New Year's Resolution I am committing to right now is to keep you all up to date with more frequent love chats. Even if they are just quick blurps to show you what I am currently working on, or ideas for future pieces, I want you all to be in the know with me and my passion.
So THANK YOU again for supporting me and signing yourselves up to receive my newsletters! I will be including special promotions only available to subscribers and will also add in some videos of me in action - Whoo!
2018 will be the year of Paper! So with that, Peace, Love and Happy Papering :)
P.S. If you have any ideas for me on what you would like to see more of, or hear about then just let me know! You can comment here, or send me a note in the contact page.
Welp. We have reached the end of the month my friends and that means that my fellow collage competitor and I will duel it out with our creations for this month's theme...and by duel it out I mean that we ooo and aaa over each other's creative genius and cyber five each other through the internet!
Just to recap - the theme for the month of April was to create a piece influenced by an "Animal Cause" that we felt very passionate about and wanted to bring awareness towards. Bambi chose the oh so adorable Red Panda that is predominately found in the mountains of Nepal as well as central China. These furry little angel babies are unfortunately on the endangered species list due to loss of habitat from deforestation by logging and spread for agriculture. They are relatives of the panda as well as the racoon and I think the result is just the cutest little critter that I want to cuddle with all day. You can watch the YouTube video posted in the previous blog post if you find yourself curious.
I kind of went berserk and decided to do a series of endangered animals which then morphed into an amazing collaboration with Global Conservation Force. They are a very special non-profit organization that dedicates themselves to saving wildlife from extinction through education, conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Meaning, they put people on the front lines to protect these beautiful creatures. So needless to say, their mission and my passion coincided and a beautiful collaboration came to fruition! With them in mind, I decided to create images of the Giraffe, Rhino, Pangolin and the Lion. Unfortunately, all of these animals are on the endangered species list and it is with hope that together we can spread awareness and put an end to the needless killing.
Because Bambi and I both feel so strongly for the animals we chose, we are going to give 100% of all proceeds received from the sale of each print to our respective organizations (hers being the Red Panda Network and mine being the Global Conservation Force.)
To purchase a print of Bambi's adorable red panda, you can visit her Etsy Shop @ https://www.etsy.com/people/mymedievalmind?
To purchase a print of one (or all!) of my animals, you can navigate to the Gallery tab on my website.
Bambi had a few words she wanted to impart to you all about this challenge:
For our 2nd Artful Challenge we agreed to concentrate on an Animal Cause we felt passionate about and I chose the adorable Red Panda of China & Nepal.
This adorable little red panda is sadly being starved out of his habitat due to humans encroaching on his forests and mountains. The good news is that it seems the word is out about his predicament and all who see him falls head over heels in love! The lucky ones are in captivity and are thriving there, even picking up some vices along the way. In his natural habitat he would survive on bamboo exclusively, until he discovered humans have apples!
I have chosen a 12" x 12" sheet of scrapbook paper with an Asian theme to keep him in his natural element. This was the first time I have ever attempted to collage an animal and I tried so very hard to capture his adorable face, but alas I have failed miserably even tweaking and redoing it several times! But, I managed to get it done just under the deadline! Even though I did struggle a bit with this challenge, I am so very happy that I found this little guy! Once again Shelby's collaged animals are just amazing!
If anyone would like to help support the Red Panda, I am offering all proceeds from any print sales of my Red Panda collage to go directly to The Red Panda Network.
So without further adieu, here are our adorable little animal friends portrayed through paper!
Hello Paper People!
Welcome to the second month in our "Artful Challenge" hosted by yours truly and my fellow collage collaborator Bambi Lyn of My Medieval Mind on Etsy. Our first month's challenge was all about Land ESCAPES and capturing our special oasis that we find ourselves escaping to. You can read all about it in the previous blog post!
For this month's challenge our theme is Animal Causes and bringing awareness to their plight. Unfortunately, there are so many concerns in today's society with endangered animals and animal rights so it was a little difficult to choose which to focus on. We have both decided to pursue somewhat different avenues - Bambi is tackling the oh so adorable Red Panda and its devastating decline due to deforestation and humans. (sigh.) I am actually taking on several animals found in the safari that are killed daily by poachers for various reasons. These animals include Elephants, Lions, Giraffes, Rhinos and Pangolins (just to name a few.) We have decided to donated ALL proceeds received from print sales to charitable causes that work at helping these precious creatures.
Bambi had a few thoughts she wanted to include for the start of the challenge:
For the Second Artful Challenge we were to choose an animal, but more specifically an animal with a cause, or in my case, I chose to concentrate on the list (it's over 5,000 species long! very sad) of Endangered Species and have fallen head over heels in LOVE with the Red Panda!
Unlike his name sake he is not even related to the Giant Pandas, but he does live in the same regions of the mountains in central China and Nepal feeding exclusively on bamboo. He looks more like a raccoon than a panda, but with red fur. He is a Herbivore mammal, but they don't get really large, they are only about the size of the average house cat! They have long bushy ringed tails that they use to keep warm in the winter.
I want to do a collage of the Red Panda in his natural habitat of the mountains, feeding on bamboo. The finished collage will be offered as a print, and I plan to donate all the proceeds of the print sales to the Wild Life Fund to help protect the Red Pandas.
I am really excited about this challenge, more so than the first, truth be told! I really have fallen in love with this little guy!! Go to You Tube and do a search for the Red Panda. But beware, once you do you will fall madly in love as well!
She's even included a youtube video of this adorable little beast so you can watch it here:
Hmm...ok this one is going to be tough to beat. What an adorable little rascal!
Because I have decided to do multiple animals, I'm going to create different pieces for each one. The reason I've decided to do it this way, is because all of the proceeds I receive from each piece's print will go to the Global Conservation Force organization. GCF works in multiple ways to protect rhino, elephant, pangolin & giraffe in the wild. From anti-poaching patrols to community conservation this donation will go towards the ground conservation efforts. Please feel free to "like" them on facebook to see field updates! It's really quite incredible what they do on the front lines to combat poaching efforts - from foot soldiers to drones that seek out would-be poachers.
So there you have it! We are giving ourselves a month to complete this challenge and will post updates along the way. Feel free to send your comments and let us know what you think!
-Shelby & Bambi
The Artful Challenge of March has officially been completed! Yes we gave ourselves a few extra weeks because quite frankly we started at an odd time of the month and I needed a little extra time (shame on me.)
From this challenge I have learned many things about myself:
1. I'm very competitive.
2. I love colors. Even more than I originally assumed.
3. I'm not very good at judging how long something will take me to complete. HA!
As with many of my pieces, the amount of detail and complexity seems to grow as I continue working...meaning as I go along I come up with alternative ideas that end up taking me more time and energy. But I am so grateful that I do this to myself because the end results are always fascinating to me! I surprise myself almost every single time I create and that just fuels my creative juices even more.
With this being our first challenge, we were more or less getting our toes wet and sizing each other up. :) I don't want to pin Winners and Losers with these challenges because I think anytime you can challenge yourself and your artistic ability then you're always a winner because you learn so much along the way.
Bambi was not as much a fan of this challenge and doesn't particularly love her result, but I'm so proud of her because she stepped completely outside of her safety bubble and challenged herself as an artist with a completely different vision. She's excited to try more challenges, which we've already picked the next theme for this upcoming Month. But more on that later!
So without further adieu, I present you with our Artful Challenge completions!!!
Again, the theme here was to do a Land ESCAPE and mine consisted of the majestic bluffs that decorate the driftless region where I live. I love the result and this will definitely become a series for me.
Bambi's Land ESCAPE is of a monastery she visits to find herself and experience moments of peace.
I'm excited to share an update on the wonderful Artful Challenge that a fellow collage-r and myself have embarked upon. I know those that are following have been sitting at the edge of your seat biting your nails :)
Just to recap: A fellow paper collage enthusiast connected with me via Etsy and brought up the idea of doing an artist challenge where we both "compete" against a pre-determined theme, creating our interpretation in our own paper styles. Both of our styles I would say are very different so I'm really really excited to see where this takes us.
So far the first theme is "Land-ESCAPES" and we are choosing places within our own area that we love to escape to, or visit. I chose to do a piece on the bluffs that decorate the driftless region where I live. Bambi has decided to do a beautiful rendition of a monastery close to where she lives and where she feels a deep connection. We didn't actually start the challenge until February 10, so we are extending the deadline date to THIS FRIDAY, March 10.
I'm about half way done. LOL. I'd say Bambi is a lot further along than myself, so it should get real interesting here in the next couple of days.
I wanted to include Bambi's thoughts on this endeavor so that you can get to know her as an artist and experience a deeper connection with her beautiful work. Here's the first blurb she wanted to say:
Finding Shelby on Etsy has been a true treasure! We both share such a passion for paper collage that it was such a natural fit (so to speak) and I am so excited that we have embarked on this journey together to inspire and encourage each other as well as to have a collaborative partner to talk "shop" with! Although Shelby and I have a completely different approach to the collage process, and have completely different paper choices, this Land "ESCAPES" Themed-project with her has already turned out to be such a treat and inspiration!
I am from what we call the "Deep South" in Covington, Louisiana. Choosing a special place I considered an "Escape" from the crazy, busy world was easy! There is a beautiful Monastery & Seminary just 5 miles from me called Saint Joseph Abbey. It is absolutely peaceful and serene, and once you are there, you would never know that it is so close to the city limits! The monastery grounds consist of the most beautiful majestic oaks with the quintessential Southern hanging moss, the azalea bushes bursting with pinks, and the gorgeous abbey on the shore of a small but substantial lake. True heaven on Earth!
That was the easy part! I couldn't believe that as long as I have been a collage artist (since 2008) I had never done a landscape! Hard to believe, I know! I have to admit, it was a bit harder than I thought it would be! I created 5 small scale collages with the land-escape theme, just playing with the composition of each piece, and choosing papers based on strictly colors & textures, inspired by Shelby actually! This goes against they way I have been creating collage using a "narrative" as my guide.
I'm glad that I took the time to do this before embarking on the larger canvas I plan to use (16" x 20") - the larger scale size is also inspired by Shelby ;-) While playing with the application in terms of design, I found myself starting with a larger, almost unrelated focal piece to work around. It was an unintended consequence that worked out rather nicely. I just love that this developed on its own as I worked through the design thought process, as collage artist know well, collage has a way of finishing themselves!
Now, with that said, having an idea of what to start with is a completely different ball game! The end result may not look anything like the first ideas, or sketches as Shelby has so cleverly thought to do! Me, I just jump right in! But somehow, I always seem to swim!
As a Medieval Historian and Art History buff, I love the beautiful inspiration inspired by Books of Hours and Illuminated Manuscripts, so naturally I will be including some elements of these in my final piece, not sure just how yet, but we will see how she progresses! (Now you understand why I naturally thought of "monks", "monastery" when Shelby asked if I had a special place close by that would be characteristic to my own locale that I could translate into our collage challenge!)
So, that is where I stand at the moment! Since Shelby has already started her collage, I better get myself busy if I want to catch up! Watch your rear Shelby, here I come! :-)
And with that here are some visuals for you detailing our progress so far! Directly below is the beginning of Bambi's collage of the monastery. In the second image you can see the picture she is referencing. The second set of images are the progress I've made up until this point. You can clearly see the differences in our styles and they are both so unique and so pretty!
There's still several days left in this challenge so be sure to check back in to see the final results! Have a great day everyone and Happy Papering!
It's another exciting day in the world of paper and I can't wait to share it with you. So far this year has been very eventful with new projects, new friends and new adventures. I'm always excited and a little nervous when a new year begins because I sometimes feel a lot of pressure in setting new goals, achieving new heights and learning a bunch of new stuff. And this year has been no different! With two months into 2017, I have already set myself up for some exciting new adventures.
One in particular includes a collaborative effort with a fellow collage artist. She connected with me through Etsy and we immediately hit it off with our mutual respect of the other's talents. Her name is Bambi and you can view her shop here: https://www.etsy.com/people/mymedievalmind. She too has a love for paper and is passionate for the Medieval and Victorian eras and does a beautiful representation of them in her pieces. Bambi reached out on a whim (probably because she could sense my crazy paper obsession) and a friendship blossomed! Clever one that she is, Bambi proposed a sort of fun, artful challenge that would pit us against each other. Ok, not in the mortal combat sense, but more of a show and tell kind of way.
The rules of this challenge are simple:
1. Come up with a monthly theme.
2. Create a representation of that theme in each artist's collage style.
3. Share the piece(s) everywhere!
Why is this exciting? Well as artists, we are always trying to find bits of inspiration. I myself am very competitive and always loved assignments where I was given an idea and told to run with it - no boundaries, limits or rules! I loved seeing the other projects and what everyone else's interpretations were for that assignment. Same case here - I am going to love to see what Bambi comes up with in our theme for each month. Oh yes, this will be a monthly challenge for us and we can create as many pieces in this "series" theme as we'd like within that 30 day period.
I am going to post our "Artful Challenge" (as we've dubbed it) on this blog so be sure to keep checking in for progress pics and then the final result of the monthly themed challenge from both artists!
This month's theme is "Land ESCAPES" which was actually a funny typo from my auto-corrector when I meant to put Landscapes. However, this was pretty serendipitous because we decided this would be a perfect first idea - taking the concept of Land ESCAPES as places that we love to escape to and enjoy ourselves in the company of the escape's nature. Living in La Crosse, WI I am constantly struck by this area's beautiful bluffs, breathtaking river views and gorgeous expansive skies. I know I will have a lot of GREAT ideas to utilize and have already begun drafting my first piece. I also want to mention that there's no size limit with these creations - that's completely up to the artist! We just wanted to give ourselves a literal idea and then allow our creative juices to take over from there. Here's a peek at the "drafted" image I came up with and I will post progress pics along the way.
I'm inviting Bambi to add some notes and updates with her perspective of the challenge - so you guys can get the full picture and see both of our interpretations along the way! Saddle up and enjoy this ride folks!
Ok, not really. Don't run away yet at the thought that I'm going to completely unload a full year's worth of verbiage. Instead, I want to pull out some pointers, special moments, and what has really driven me to become the artist I am today. So buckle up and strap yourselves in folks!
First, I am so grateful for everyone who's been supportive in my endeavors and my passion with art. I genuinely had no idea that paper was going to be what triggered my most creative juices, but here we are. My husband has been the most supportive, enthusiastic and inspiring muse. Without him, I honestly don't know if I would have taken the plunge and thrown myself into the world of freelance art. So thank you husband for being who you are and loving me like you do :)
I originally started working with paper and had a particular "look" so to speak. But art is fickle and changes quickly as you grow, and I've seen myself develop more and more into the artist I am today. My style is unique - I genuinely believe that. I find inspiration in patterns, colors, and textures and I even amaze myself at some of the visions that I come up with just by looking at a piece of paper. Believe me when I say that I can spend HOURS looking online at several different paper retailers to find all of the beautiful handmade and decorative papers that I use everyday in my pieces. Some women collect shoes and clothing, this woman collects papers. Go figure.
One new creative outlet that I recently started has been with Puppy Portraits in Paper. This is a unique style that I use to create a gorgeous portrait of your loveable little furball completely out of paper. No this is not traditional, but I love all of the challenges, and overall look when I've finished. I love the dimension and the textures that come through with paper that you do not get with traditional mediums such as paint and pencil. Paper is such a delicate, intricate medium to use because it's so fickle and reacts IMMEDIATELY to whatever gluing agents I use. So I have had a lot of time to test and practice and I feel that I have found a permanent, positive method for sticking paper to paper. Puppy Portraits are very affordable and something that you can keep with you for a very long time (I hesitated in wanting to say "forever" because honestly, nothing lasts forever, but this could be a close ringer!) If you are curious and would like more information, or perhaps hear from past clients who have received puppy portraits in paper, please reach out! I will gladly chat with you, reminisce about your loveable furbaby and maybe toast a glass of wine in their honor. Because a lot of clients have commissioned me to do memorial pieces so that they can keep their special little furbaby in their hearts and in their sights forever.
Another positive notch in my artistic career has been a recent article in a local newspaper, detailing my art and my style for the community. This was beyond anything I could imagine - I've never been in a newspaper or had any exposure at a larger scale by any means. I appreciate so much everyone's reactions and genuine positive exclamations when they see my artwork. It's one thing to view it on a computer screen, but it's a completely different experience to see it in person, touch it and truly see all of the depths and textures that each paper has to offer. Again, when I say I'm obsessed with paper, that is not putting it lightly. :)
So moving into 2017 - I have some big ideas. VERY big ideas. I want to push myself artistically, put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable (with regard to my art of course) and really continue to develop myself as an artist. I know I can always learn, and I want to make sure that I'm doing that not only for myself, but for my viewers and admirers. I want everyone who is fortunate enough to own one of my pieces to think that they own a treasure, because you do. It's a piece of me that I put into all of my pieces and it's truly very special.
Thank you for an amazing year for 2016 and I can't wait to see what 2017 brings!
Happy Papering :)
I am so excited. I am literally sitting here trying not to overload my keyboard with all of my emotions that are trying to come out through my fingertips! I was recently featured in our local newspaper, the La Crosse Tribune for my artwork and my passion. They did an amazing job and I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for this opporutnity. You can read the article below as well as visit www.lacrossetribune.com to see more on the article:
Some people collect jewelry, others squirrel away antiques, but for Shelby Andre, no possession is quite so prized as her paper stash. Glittery, floral, striped — she has them all, and even the smallest scraps bring a sparkle to her eye.
Andre’s affinity for paper started young, sparked by the purchase of a single sheet of regal patterned maroon velvet. Twenty years later, strips of the paper can be found in her artwork, Paper Figments, with the rest stowed lovingly among the dozens of rolls piled in her home studio.
After work or even in the middle of the night, Andre can be found in the nook off her bedroom, painstakingly cutting bits and pieces for her signature works, colorful compilations and patterns affixed to canvas and sealed with Mod-Podge. Every piece takes patience, with up to 20 hours dedicated to a large image.
“I just love the process,” Andre enthused of the layered works, depicting leaves, animals or the abstract. “I feel like they all tell a personal story about me.”
Andre created her first canvas five years ago after playing around with scraps and strips from her beloved velvet scroll. After her first art show in 2015, she quickly gained fans, enamored by the the unique, tactile creations. Andre sells originals or prints from her website, on Etsy or at Tapestry in Onalaska, and has a series of elephant prints that profit the Natural Resource Defense Council.
Andre’s themes have evolved to include quilt-like patterns, a customer favorite, and custom “puppy portraits,” paper likenesses created from pet photos. She has also branched out to oversized works and papered ornaments and vases.
“I like taking a risk and challenging myself, seeing where I can go,” Andre shared. “I’m not limited necessarily to the confines of canvas — I can carry my technique and sense of style to different mediums."
Some of her works are enhanced with watercolors or acrylic, and feature paper of all textures and thicknesses, from origami paper to gift wrap.
“I’m obsessed with paper — I’ll use whatever catches my eye,” Andre said. “My creativity really comes from the colors and patterns and vibrancy. Just looking at it gets me so inspired and excited about creating with it.”
Andre has gained confidence in her process, mastering the reactions of various mediums and learning to gauge when a piece has reached its limit for layers. And while inspiration and intent can waver without rhyme or reason, it’s an uncertainty she relishes.
“I like things to be beautifully chaotic,” Andre said. “I may start with one plan and it morphs into something completely different.”
Andre hopes her passion for paper will materialize into a career one day, and dreams of creating a children’s book on endangered animals — she already has a head start on the fringe-maned lions.
“I’m excited to see where this takes me,” Andre enthused. “And where I’ll be as an artist a year from now.”
For more information, go to the Paper Figments website.
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