The Newsletter of the American Academy of Art
Academy Alumnus Illustrates Cover for Time Magazineâ€™s Person of the Year
Jason Seiler Academy Alumnus Illustrates Cover for
Time Magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year
work for myself for some up coming shows and for private commissions.” Artist Painting Celebrity becomes a Celebrity The Time cover of Pope Francis has yielded a lot of media interest in Jason, including interviews in Chicago with ABC-7, FOX News (twice), and WTTWChannel 11, and with Time Magazine, Vanity Fair and The Huffington Post. Jason Seiler’s Advice to Student Artists
The print magazine hit shelves on Friday, December 13. Time did a story on Jason and his work creating this outstanding illustration of the first non-European pope in 1,200 years here. “This magazine cover illustration of Pope Francis for Time was as challenging an assignment as it was a huge honor,” explained Seiler. Seiler, who finished his studies at the Academy in 2006, spent 70 hours creating the image of Pope Francis on a 21-inch LCD display. He utilized many of the same techniques he employs when painting with oils or acrylics. Interestingly, Jason also created the illustration for Time magazine’s secondplace runner-up for its 2013 “Person of the Year”, Edward Snowden. Seiler’s illustrations and paintings have also been featured as covers and interior pieces for Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Utne Reader, The New Yorker, Der Spiegel, Business Week, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, MAD magazine, GOLF Digest, AD WEEK, and many other publications. Seiler has also worked for Disney, New Line Cinema, Universal Pictures, Aardman Animation and Sony Image among others. Seiler’s watercolor instructor at the Academy, Mat Barber Kennedy, had
this to share about teaching Jason: “His talent and pride in his work were instantly apparent as were his determination and dedication to improve. These elements of his character have helped him to build such a successful career. I enjoyed teaching Jason and am immensely proud both of his artistic achievements and of the way that he has handled himself as a man of integrity.” A Digital Painter for 10 Years Based on Jason’s need to meet tight deadlines from magazine clients, he taught himself how to paint digitally in 2004. Jason purchased a small, cheap tablet to “test out” digital art. He created and was paid for a painting of Arnold Schwarzenegger that first week and has been painting digitally ever since. His tool of choice: a Wacom Cintiq.
Acknowledging the challenge of becoming a successful artist, Jason emphasized how important an unshakable work ethic is. “School will be a waste unless you, the student, put in hard work and time,” Seiler explained. “If you don’t give 110 percent, you are wasting everyone’s time and your money. You need to push and compete with yourself (and other students) on every assignment. It’s essential to master the basics of drawing and painting. Only then will you eventually stumble upon your own style and look, or voice. So, the fundamentals are very important!” Making Art is Still Hard Jason explains that every piece he creates has its challenges. “There is always a point in almost every piece I do that I feel like I am struggling or failing. It’s problem solving. You simply have to do what you can to push through it. If there weren’t challenges, it would become boring, and so would my work. I enjoy the struggle, it makes me better.”
“In my opinion this is a must for anyone serious about being a professional. I love it because it feels very natural. It is a pressure-sensitive, 21” LCD screen. I can draw and paint directly on the screen, allowing me to work faster,” Seiler explained. “I have created my own brushes and technique to painting digitally that make the experience and my work product almost the same as if I were working traditionally. I paint digitally now for every assignment that I get for publication – movies, books, posters, you name it. I only do traditional Illustration of Steve Jobs for Ad Week
American Academy of Art Newsletter
J. Anthony Kosar Academy Alumnus Crowned King of Syfy Channel’s Face Off Show J. Anthony Kosar added to his long list of accomplishments becoming season four champion of the Syfy channel’s reality-based Face Off program. The show is one of the biggest make-up special effects (FX) competitions in the world and certainly on TV. Kosar’s prizes included a 2013 Fiat 500 car and $100,000. He earned his BFA in Illustration from the Academy and was the 2008 valedictorian. Kosar competed against and beat 13 other accomplished and talented artists during 16 episodes of season four. He won the season finale in Las Vegas with his Sinister Dream Thief and La Revian Princess special effects make up. During each Face Off episode, artists are given a set number of hours during a three-day period to develop a character or creature make-up on a model based on a specific theme. At the end of the third day, the contestants present their work to three judges.
Face Off host McKenzie Westmore and J. Anthony Kosar (Photo by Nicole Wilder-Shattuck)
One artist wins each episode’s challenge, and one artist is eliminated. Kosar won six of the 11 Spotlight Challenges and one Foundation Challenge – setting a show record for most wins by a single artist in a season. “Face Off was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I learned so much about myself. as an artist, and how far I can push myself and my art,” Kosar said. “The Academy taught me the essential foundations of art that I use in my work every day.” A somewhat self-taught artist, Kosar attended the Academy to gain fundamental skills and a formal education in illustration, fine art and painting. In 2007, he interned at the legendary Stan Winston Studio, creating effects for Indiana Jones 4 and James Cameron’s Avatar. Kosar specializes in and provides fine art, illustration, sculpture, creature design, make-up FX, and product design through his Westmont, Illinoisbased company Kosart Effects Studios, www.KosartEffects.com.
Kosar’s winning monster creations (Photo by Brett Patrick Jenkins)
Thomas Blackshear Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award Celebrated Illustrator, Figurine Innovator
The award pays tribute to Blackshear’s 35-year career creating illustrations, paintings, postage stamps and bestselling collector items. The American Academy of Art has named 1977 graduate Thomas Blackshear – former commercial illustrator, and prolific and celebrated artist of postage stamps, figurines, paintings, collectable plates and much more – the 2013 recipient of its Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Illustration by Thomas Blackshear
“Thomas has built a fantastic name and success for himself by pursuing his own, unique vision,” said Richard Otto, the Academy’s President. “We’re thrilled to give him our most important award.”
American Academy of Art Newsletter
“The Academy is one of the few places I truly learned, besides the amazing experience of working as an apprentice to my former instructor, Mark English,” Blackshear explained. “The Academy exposed me to materials I didn’t know about, introduced me to new styles of composition and gave me my essential, foundational learning. I was taught to experiment, explore and strive beyond the norm. That school helped me to think outside of the box.” Blackshear’s Five Tips for Success for Academy Graduates / Artists:
“Receiving this significant recognition is a huge compliment,” explained Blackshear. “The Academy has been a key component of my success. And, it’s a real honor to share this award with the talented, past winners who came before me and whose work inspires me.”
1. Explore new territory: Remember that there is so much to still be discovered in how we develop concepts and visuals, in how we relate to art.
Prolific Artist: Blackshear began working as an illustrator for 14 years – creating work for Hallmark Cards, Anheuser-Busch, Lucas Films, Universal Studios, Greenwich Workshop and many other companies.
3. Remain a student: Stay inspired. Get as much guidance, inspiration, support and advice from people you respect in your field.
U.S. Postage Stamps: Blackshear has illustrated nearly 30 postage stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. Collectable Plates: Blackshear created the highly successful, original Star Wars series. He also created the first Wizard of Oz portrait plates and the first Star Trek plates.
Illustration by Thomas Blackshear
Blackshear has also created portraits of Pope John Paul II and President Obama.
Figurines: In 1994, Blackshear created a line of black-themed collectables self-titled Ebony Visions. It broke new ground and became Willitts Designs International’s bestseller within months, according to Blackshear. Ebony Visions, which Blackshear terms “Afro-Nouveau,” has been the number-one best seller for black figurines for the last 19 years, and approximately 200 of his figurines have been produced, Blackshear explained.
2. Break out: Do not be restricted by self-imposed limitations. Do all you can to try and think outside of the box.
4. Find your honest, inner voice: Follow your heart; be true to yourself. Then, you can more easily discover and mine your unique talent. 5. Work hard: Whatever you chose to do, do it best. A strong work ethic can never be underestimated, especially in creating art. Blackshear states the artists of the Golden Age of Illustration as his greatest inspiration. “Everything I create incorporates this beautiful style.”
Academic Dean Duncan Webb & Graduate Khafre Liggens
Graduates Katie Lavin & Tanya Sarovich
Valedictorian Chloe Peterson
The 2013 Graduating Class
Thomas Blackshear presented each graduate with a signed limited edition print of his artwork
World Famous Artist and Academy Alumnus Honored Howard Terpning is perhaps one of the most recognized and talented “American West” artists alive today. Born in Oak Park, Ill. Nov. 5, 1927, he has called Arizona his home for the last 40 years. With dozens of awards under his belt, and some of his original paintings selling for more than a million dollars, he actually began his journey as a commercial illustrator after finishing his studies at the American Academy of Art more than 60 years ago.
Early Beginnings: After turning 17, Terpning enlisted and served in the Marine Corps from 1945 to 1946 as an infantryman in China. He attended the American Academy of Art in 1949, where he refined his drawing and illustration skills.
“Howard has been a real force in the art world for two-thirds of a century,” explained Richard Otto, President of the American Academy of Art. “He honed his craft right here at the Academy, so it’s a real honor to call him one of our own.” In 2010, the Academy presented Terpning with its Distinguished Alumnus Award. Terpning’s Tip: “Graduates need to develop a strong work ethic and be prepared to capitalize on opportunities when they arise.”
Terpning first gained national attention for illustrating, commanding Time and Newsweek covers. He went on to illustrate award-winning movie posters for classic films such as The Sound of Music, Cleopatra, Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and the re-issue of Gone with the Wind, among others.
Gone With The Wind Poster Artwork
Commercial to Fine Artist: In 1974 Terpning began transitioning from commercial art to artistically expressing his fascination with the American West and Native American culture. In just a few years, he gained major fame as a fine artist. Terpning is considered by many art aficionados – especially serious critics and collectors of Western or cowboy art – to be among the greatest illustrators and artists of his generation. The New York Times described Terpning in a 2007 article as “the most successful living American artist you’ve never heard of.” Terpning is a long-time member of the Cowboy Artists of America, which has presented him with 42 awards, including 19 gold and 11 artist’s choice awards. He has also received “Best of Show” and “Best Overall Show by a Single Artist” more than two dozen times.
Native American Artwork
American Academy of Art Newsletter
The Sound of Music Poster Artwork
Native American Artwork
90th Academy Anniversary Exhibit
Academy President Richard H. Otto
People enjoying the 90th Anniversary Exhibition
Guests mingling in the Bill L. Parks Gallery
Jason Seiler with his George Lucas Caricature
Alumni Aaron Tucker, Patricia Ocampo & Matt Hryniewiecki
Instructor Lou Ann Burkhardt & Alumna Elsa Munoz
Curator Aron Gagliardo
Studying at the American Academy of Art
Instructor Lou Ann Burkhardt with life drawing student
Life drawing student in class
Photography students in class
Illustration instructor Rich Kryczka with students
Oil Painting student American Academy of Art Newsletter
Photography instructor Bob Drea with students
Student at work in the photo lab
Youngest Academy Instructor, Hyperrealist Painter also believe that my experience as a graduate of the University of Chicago – a very theoretical/conceptual school – would benefit the Academy and its students. Would you describe your teaching style in any particular way? Strict when it comes to the work. The art world can be a harsh place. It has no room for artists who don’t take themselves seriously. Besides laying down the hammer, I also collaborate, encourage, demonstrate, and really like to engage my students.
Instructor and Alumnus Anthony Adcock
How do you become the American Academy of Art’s youngest, full-time instructor? Three words about Anthony Adcock answer that question: talent, passion and perseverance. What’s your favorite thing about teaching at the Academy? I love the faculty that I teach alongside. They seem more like a family, and are incredibly talented, welcoming and friendly. Also, I like that I can teach a subject that I love… life drawing. Why did you wish to teach at this stage of your career? Aren’t you now the Academy’s youngest, full-time instructor? That’s right. I am the youngest instructor at the Academy. I taught a few classes at the University of Chicago as a student teacher. I found that by having to explain the process of creating art to beginners, I was sort of re-teaching myself – and my foundations. The more I taught, the more I learned. So, I figured that by teaching others, not only would I gain satisfaction, but I would also broaden my knowledge of art. Why did you select the Academy as the place to teach? I wanted to teach at a school that taught representational art, a place that functioned more like an Atelier, or workshop. My style borders on hyperrealism, and I figured that I would be able to contribute to some technical aspects of painting and drawing. I
What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your career? First would be receiving a Masters of Fine Art from the University of Chicago; next is becoming an instructor at the Academy; then followed by my scoring a solo exhibition at the Packer Schopf Gallery for April 2014. What advice do you have for high school students interested in pursuing a degree and career in art? Work hard. You get out of college what you put into it. The art world is a very competitive place…no one wants to hire the fifth best painter on the street. Do your best to be at the top of your game – and the list.
to the movies or watch TV, we are experiencing byproducts of other artists. We go to concerts, plays, and countless other forms of entertainment that can be considered art. Even going to a fancy restaurant can be considered an artistic experience. I also find the extreme amount of art we process every day to be challenging. I believe this volume perhaps weakens the strength of individual images or art pieces. The multitude of artistic production that passes us by so quickly motivates me to create paintings with which I can spend time. I am tired of the endless stream of images that flash before my eyes. The artist today has the ability to assume roles of any kind and produce art. It’s widely accepted that putting frosting on a cake is art. This ability opens the possibilities of what artists can do. This results in artists who start rebuilding cities as art. The possibilities seem endless.
What advice do you have for current Academy students? First, learn how to draw. This essential skill makes any job in the art world easier. Second, research and read about art; become well versed in art theory. Learn why artists are making the art that they choose to make. What three things should artists do to help ensure they make a living as artists? 1) Keep making art; 2) Network – it’s never too early; and 3) Start going to more art events like openings; join competitions and group shows; and participate in as many events as possible. Very few artists are discovered. You need to become discovered by your own efforts. What motivates you most about creating art? I believe everything in society is closely tied to art. We make money to buy things. Whether a car or a can of pop, these things are designed and often made by artists. When we go
Artwork by Anthony Adcock
Kickstarter program Alumni Attract, Engage Fans, and Grow their Careers Crowdfunding site Kickstarter has been a tremendous asset in helping Academy graduates attract and engage fans, fund their latest publishing projects and advance their careers. Each artist has typically set a deadline, total funding goal and different contribution levels / offerings (signed copy, original artwork, etc.) in exchange for financial support. Here are summaries about six alumni who achieved their Kickstarter goals: Jill Thompson, majored in Illustration and Watercolor and graduated in 1987. Comic book author and illustrator, character creator, playwright, and creative collaborator. Funded creation of the Scary Godmother Doll. Backers: 2,617; Goal: $150,000; Pledged: $206,187. Carla Wyzgala, BFA in illustration, 2009. Independently creating comics and illustrations. Funded Carlations Process, a watercolor process art book. Backers: 87; Goal: $1,375; Pledged: $5,204.
Scary Godmother creator, comic book illustrator and Alumna Jill Thompson used Kickstarted to successfully fund her Scary Godmother Doll
Jen Brazas, BFA in Illustration, 2009. Writing and marketing her webcomic, Mystic Revolution. Funded fourth Mystic Revolution book. Backers: 144; Goal: $5,000; Pledged: $9,492. Caleb King, BFA in Illustration, 2009. Comic book artist, creating his own intellectual property. Funded graphic novel of short stories from his web comic Surreality. Backers: 34; Goal: $2,500; Pledged: $2,526
Alumni Jim Vargas and Carla Wyzgala
Alumnus Caleb King
Alumna Jen Brazas
Alumnus Kyle Bice
Kyle Bice, BFA in painting, 2002. Full-time freelance illustrator. Funded A Book of Dwarves, fictional field guide to (fantasy) Dwarves a la Brian Froud and Alan Leeâ€™s Book of Fairies. Backers: 156; Goal: $2,000; Pledged: $5,429. Jim Vargas, BFA in Illustration, 2009. Comic book artist. Funded self-published and illustrated comic book series called Faithless. Backers: 50; Goal: $2,500; Pledged: $2,550. American Academy of Art Newsletter
Living the “Artist Life” Meet Jourdon Gullett Illustrator & Entrepreneur
2006 Academy Illustration graduate, Jourdon Gullett, is a full-time, working artist; instructor; part-time artistic director for custom skateboard and apparel company Bluetown; and lives, sees and experiences art in everything he does. Upon graduating from the Academy, Jourdon began working at Gallery 37 with the After School Matters program, helping high school students with various art projects. He started as an intern with his former Academy instructor, Misha Goro. He was promoted to an assistant instructor and eventually to the position of lead instructor. In 2010, Jourdon and Jesse Neuhaus who founded Chicago-based Bluetown in 1996, began a collaboration to bring back Bluetown Skateboards and have all graphics created by local artists. With Bluetown Skateboards, LLC, Jesse runs business-related matters and Jourdon manages everything related to art and events. In addition to his work with Bluetown, Jourdon has held many positions, including: exhibit curator, gallery founder, in-house illustrator and freelance artist. Woodblock assemblage “Sky High” and Jourdon Gullett
“I’ve always felt art and life should be fun,” explained Jourdon. “The more I can integrate the two, the happier I am.” “I don’t think I’ve ever met an artist who is so successful at integrating his artmaking with his lifestyle and personality,” commented Jourdon’s former instructor and Illustration Dept. Co-chair Tom Herzberg. Jourdon says his three favorite things about the Academy were: Small classes, close relationships with instructors and the work ethic the Academy instills. “
Skateboard decks illustrated by Jourdon Gullett for his company Bluetown Skateboards
Career Services Placing Academy Graduates
Students display their artwork
Employers meet with Academy Students
Our Career Services office is at the center of a close collaboration between faculty, staff, students and potential employers. We maintain contact with employers in many areas of the art world – advertising/design/ marketing agencies, corporations, staffing agencies, art galleries, nonprofit organizations, associations, and more – to ensure that we have an accurate understanding of their needs and requirements of our students. We are also in close contact with many of our alumni, who are often a source of referrals for employment for current students and new graduates. Through our annual “Employer Evening” and less formal meetings, employers visit our campus to view student work in the galleries and to interview students.
Employers review Academy Student Portfolios
Alumni, please remember: placement assistance is available to you at any stage in your career. Learn more about the Academy’s Career Services by visiting: aaart.edu/ student-services/career-services/.
American Academy of Art Newsletter
Printing Taking Shape as a Learning Tool at the Academy
Journey of an Art student Academy Senior Jess Bryant
With the emerging role 3D printing is playing in everything from manufacturing to product design to art, the American Academy of Art decided to give students an opportunity to work with this impressive tool. In August 2013, the Academy purchased its first 3D printer, a Makerbot Replicator 2 (4thgeneration model). The Academy is finalizing a system for determining what design projects will be completed on the 3D printer and how to schedule printing – which can take a long time based on the size and complexity of a project. However, the plan is to have every student in the 3D curriculum print a project each class, each semester. Students are gaining some great skills and experiences using the 3D printer. Instructor, Marc Soehl, explains, “It gives our students a more hands-on approach to the process of taking their work from a conceptual phase to a tangible, finished state. It also forces them to become problem solvers, as 3D printers have a finite size they can print. To complete large projects, we print in pieces and then attach them together,” Soehl continued. “In a small way, our students also get a taste for engineering.”
a community-centered arts oganization. My work was displayed at the group’s “It Takes a Village” event last summer. I also recently submitted artwork to be exhibited at the upcoming event, “Happy Birthday, Chicago!”
Naperville, IL native Jess Bryant tells us about her passion for art, experience studying at the Academy and expects to graduate in 2015 with a BFA in oil painting. What was the moment / occasion (if there was one) when you knew you wanted to become an artist? I don’t think there was a specific moment, but I’ve never been able to imagine myself doing anything else. I’ve been drawing ever since I picked up a crayon at the ripe, old age of two. How did you decide to attend the Academy? My high school art teacher, Mr. Jones, had a former student who attended the Academy. He recommended the school and spoke highly of the Academy’s programs and credibility. He felt that it would be a good fit for me. Have you exhibited your work yet? Where? I have participated in several student shows at the Academy. I was awarded the Presidential Award at the Freshman Foundations Show in 2012. I had several pieces on display in the Annual Fine Art Show in 2013 and 2014. In the last year, I’ve become involved with a local nonprofit organization, Echoes of Chicago
3D Artwork by Connor Ledwidge
What has been your favorite class and broader lesson? I took the Introduction to Photography class last summer, and I absolutely loved it. There wasn’t anywhere I went that I didn’t have my film camera with me. Photography has become an essential tool that I’ve continued to use outside of the photo classroom. Because it was a beginners’ course, we focused a lot on camera handling skills and the elements that compose a successful photograph. Composition, balance and good lighting are all contributing factors to creating a strong photo. Since taking the photography class, I’ve seen progression and resolution in my paintings because I’m more aware of how to create a balanced image.
Oil Painting by Jess Bryant
2013 Academy Graduate Shows Her Work at Paris Fashion Trade Show Jane Labowitch is defining her style and future one great Etch-a-Sketch artwork at a time. A 2013 Illustration graduate, Jane, was recently invited to show her work at a major show in Paris. Read about her journey, ambitions and great advice for aspiring artists. What were you recently doing in Paris? I was invited in October to show my Etch-a-Sketch art at Who’s Next, a prêtà-porter (ready-to-wear) fashion trade show in Paris this past January because the show’s theme was toys. How did the trip help you? I met so many people! I exchanged a lot of business cards, made a new contact at Disney, and connected with people from various European fashion blogs. I also forged a stronger connection with Ohio Art, which makes the Etcha-Sketch in the U.S. The company generously gave me 24 classic (large) Etch-a-Sketch units to take to Paris. What three ways did the Academy offered the greatest value to you? When I was looking for colleges, the Academy appealed to me because of its strong technical approach to training students. There is an amazing faculty at the Academy! They put their hearts into teaching; and I always felt like they genuinely cared about my progress. The student body is like a big family. There was never harsh competition, but I always felt pushed, encouraged and motivated by them to give my absolute best.
Jane Labowitch at the Eiffel Tower Paris, France
What advice would you offer to someone entering art school? Work hard!!! There’s no shortcut to becoming a better artist. Go beyond what is expected of you. Your experience in art school is ultimately going to be what you put into it. Also, make friends! Get out of your comfort zone! I was terrified of working digitally; but once I got over that initial hurdle, I fell in love with the medium. Go to museums and gallery openings. More exposure means more opportunities.
American Academy of Art Newsletter
Etch-A-Sketch Art by Jane Labowitch
Princess Etch-A-Sketch booth, Paris
Current Students win $5,000 Grand Prizes in Wine Label Art Contest Four Other Students Named Finalists Academy illustration majors Jordan Scott and Nina Palumbo were each awarded one of the four $5,000 academic scholarship grand prizes in the 2013 Canvas Artist Series Competition. The Michael Mondavi family developed canvas Wines for the Hyatt Corporation. Hyatt sponsors the contest. According to the contest rules, each of the entrants had to create an original “artistic representation of characteristics of one of the four Canvas Wines varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot or Pinot Grigio.” Three finalists and one grand prize winner were selected under each wine category. Entrants also had to write and submit two, 100-word (maximum) essays: 1) A brief statement about themselves and why they want to be artists; and 2) The inspiration and story behind their submission.
Art by Nina Palumbo
In addition to receiving academic scholarships from Hyatt, the grand prize winners will have their artwork featured as the labels of a special bottling of Canvas Wines “Artist Series” (a total of 325,200 bottles) and on the Canvas Wines’ website canvaswines.com/ artistseries This is the second consecutive year Illustration Chair Rich Kryczka had his classes participate in the contest – which began in 2011. One of his students, Christian Gordon, won a grand prize last year.
Kryczka had approximately 20 students from two of his classes enter the contest. Six of the 12 finalists were his students. There were 84 entrants, nationwide. Scott and Pulumbo were both juniors at the Academy when they entered the contest last semester and are now both seniors. “I’m very proud of all of my students for participating, and especially happy about our securing six finalists and two grand prize slots,” explained Kryczka.
Art by Jordan Scott
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The American Academy of Art offers the following programs: •Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration or with a Specialization in Digital Illustration •Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design •Bachelor of Fine Arts in Multimedia/Web Design •Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3-D Modeling/Animation •Bachelor of Fine Arts in Life Drawing •Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting with a Specialization in Oil Painting or Watercolor Painting •Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography For more information, please call us at 312-461-0600, email us at email@example.com visit www.aaart.edu or scan this code.
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