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  1. #1
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    Art teacher stories/rants/goodies?

    Well, I need to let off a buttload of steam, because my teachers are pissing me off.

    Last year I had one art class: Drawing 1. It was everything I thought it would be and more: Our teacher would go through many various units that let us have creative freedom- but taught us about the Basics of art. We first did line. Line, and line, and line, and line and line. Contour, Line weight, hatching, all this stuff. He taught us how to do it, and the theory behind it. Then Value. He forced us to do a value scale with 12 slots. Almost all the projects we did could have been abstract, realist, anything but "Stylistic" (With an exception or 2).

    This year, I take 4 art classes. 2 of them royally blow. Drawing 2, much to my suprise and dismay, sucks. All of our projects have been abstract, with the exception of some long term observational drawing. We have done one in pencil, and one in Lithocrayon. The problem is that kids feel the need to fuck them up at their own will. Also: our teacher doesn't teach. She tells. "Add value!" Most kids suck at value, but think they're the shit because she says it's good. All we do is Abstract stuff. We have almost no creative freedom because we are based almost solely on the objectives of the assignment rather than skill.

    And in Sculpture. First project was recreating an abstract master painting(predetermined) in cardboard. That wasn't all too bad. Next was a non-representative Plaster subtractive sculpture. It had no point. YOu could have done anything with the sculpture and it wouldn't have mattered. Now we are doing Paper Mache, Pop Art. Giant food. Giant, MODERN food. Next? We do clay. clay WHISTLES. What the fuck I ask you, what, the, fuck.


    Proceed to rant here.


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  3. #2
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    Chalk it up to "paying your dues" as an Art Student, suck it up, hard as it is, and simply play the game.
    If nothing else, it is EXCELLENT experience and practice for those jobs, where you are getting PAID to work under an Art Director who couldn't direct a piece of toilet paper to his ass, if the hole weren't so big as he reaches around...lol!

    There is an old shopworn saying that "those who can't do, teach," and while there are some notable, wonderful, and inspirational exceptions, the VAST majority of Art Instructors unfortuately fall into this category...

    Just slap the shit down the way they want you to, and let the aggravation/frustration flow through you. Then go home, and do the art you feel in your heart.

    Nothing lasts forever, every story has its end. And thankfully, so do shitty art classes...
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  4. #3
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    How about "favouritism" stories.

    Back in 1999 I had this drawing teacher who visibily hated whatever I did. I've had friends who couldn't draw to save their own lives get better grades than me...and proceeded to tell me (until today whenever they met me) they they couldn't understand how or why they got their grades. I have no clue how I pissed her off in the first place.

    Best part. She was originally from Hong Kong and one of my buddies in class was also from HK. So they had great rapport and he's always given brilliant grades. Even to the point she was demo-ing how to get some stuff done over his work...then when he proceeded to hand in that same piece, he got a B for what we call "her work" (its still a joke in our annual class gatherings). To this day he couldn't figure out how he got straight Bs while I was never able to break out of Cs. We never fail to eke a laugh out of the gang with this story either.

    Its just that one teacher though. The rest of my drawing teachers in later semesters were fair and gave me the grades I believe I qualify for.
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    not that it should really count, but an amusing story... When I was in highschool (I know, stop right there, right?) a new art teacher took over when the old one retired. My new 11th grade art teacher was... the same fuckin lady I had in 3rd grade. The big problem was, nobody bothered to tell her she'd been promoted from 8-year-olds. I swear to god, we did the same projects as I did in her 3rd grade class.

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    you better make your goddamn clay wistel with a smile on your face! And paint that mother silver!

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    well, you don't need to know much when it comes to Abstract anyway. But yeah, that sucks. Get out of there and go somewhere else!

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    Go with Madster's advice. Play their game, even if you can see the reasoning.

    My first real art course at school started when I was 15, and it was for two years. It was all predtermined projects. I was told to do this & that. We all made pop-up passport that chronicaled the life span of a choosen artist. Oh joyous. I choose Wassily Kandinsky, an abstract artist. I got grade 'A' by making swirly shapes in water colours. My teacher said they were great, so i kept making them.

    If you keep to it, eventualy you will get more freedome. Im afriad it will always be curbed towards what the teachers want, because they are going to have to mark it. For now it just a dot-to-dot, do this, this and this to get xgrade.

    But as madster said, it will eventualy end, and, hopefully, you will have clawed something out of it worth while. Even if its a clay whistle.

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    if you ever by some wicked twist of fate end up in the luzern art school. RUN AWAY! apaprently its th best one in switzerland (if its true my heart bleeds for the resst of the nation) in about 5 weeks, there have been 2 days on which ive acctually learnt something. TWO. The rest of the time is an unbelievable waste of time, oh and get this, after being questioned wha were only doing a week of life drawing i was told, and i quote that its "no longer in". Oh yeah and apparently i failed highschool art because something was muttered about my work being too comercial (not a criteria) and they later changed it to a pass when i wen WHAT THE FUCK. cause its the only class i did any work in. Yeah i havent had much luck with em either.
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  10. #9
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    There was a class I took in high school, a CAD class. Bad enough that I was sorely mistaken and thought CAD was like a digital painting course... but THIS class was myself and every shop guy at school sitting in a garage with GREEN SCREENED APPLE IIE COMPUTERS (This was in 1997, FYI) and did LOGO, played a game called "Car Builder" and then when the class got restless halfway through the semester the teacher had us build bridges and miniature radio towers out of balsa wood. I guess I'm lucky he didn't break out the popsicle sticks, macaroni, glitter and elmer's glue...

    ..I learned NOTHING about CAD.

    In college, there was one Illustration teacher whom everyone hated... she played favorites, but I was a favorite as luck would have it and she helped me get my first internship... so I was in the minority of people who thought she was just OK. She was one of those teachers who wanted to control some people's style to suit HER needs (she was an art director for her own brand of children's books) and in the past had stolen student's artwork for one of her publications.

    On top of that, she had a fear of competing with us when we graduated (BEWARE OF COMPETETIVE TEACHERS!) hence the desire to control student's styles and portfolios. She had emotional break downs in class and was just unprofessional. I really wanted to join the bandwagon of people who hated her, but instead I kept myself neutral. She didn't stifle my workflow in particular and again, the internship... *sigh* I feel dirty.

    If I think of others I will add 'em. Can we start a thread about the awesome art teachers that we had too?

    Edit: Pixeldragoon : For the record, we had to make giant shoes out of wire, giant bones out of twigs, cardboard bridges and hell, I smeared toothpaste and cornflakes on a canvas to get an award-winning professor to STFU and give me a B. But that was just foundation year, like Madster has said, grin and bear it and get ready for the real assignments next year. Also... try to have fun, even a little. I sculpted a bust of one of Picasso's paintings in sculpey and whole heartedly enjoyed it, despite its permanent residence in my Dad's attic.
    Last edited by Steph Laberis; October 18th, 2005 at 10:08 AM.

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    Defy the mighty titan!

    I have done two years at college along those lines and high school before that. I fought them all the way. When we were doing art history and looking at a few blobs of colour apparently called abstract expressionism, and we were being told how much depth it had, I was the only one who asked Why?

    In the end I wrote and illustrated my own book in 10 weeks for my final. I did it in my own style and own way. I worked so hard on it that I gave them no choice but to give it a good mark. I got the second to highest grade possible because of it.

    If more artists stood up to this kind of constrictive abstract rubbish that is destroying real art skills then it would make learning art much easier. At the moment it seems to me that to learn real art skills you have to teach yourself and come to places like CA.

    Bring back real art. Join the revolution!
    Have faith, these things should never be easy.

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  12. #11
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    Frankly, I don't get art classes that teach you stuff you don't enjoy....paticularly if your ability is advanced.

    I could never take a drawing 101 class. It would drive me insane.

    I think you could learn more out of a life drawing class or a painting class then you could from a rudimentary drawing class any day of the week.

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    In all fairness Infinitium, I felt the same way you did about a single blob on a canvas (and to this day I am still glad I didn't become a painting major, that major is BS central).

    During my senior year I shared a studio space with an abstract painter. My first thought was BS as well, but over the semester I took an interest in what he was doing - he wasn't hurlling himself at a canvas, covered in the blood of a virgin and pthalo green paint. He was really exploring the medium, the illusion of depth he could achieve with his paints, the composition and the pull of the eye as well as trying to get an emotion across. At first glance, these things were easy to miss but once I understood his process and his intent, I found myself with a new respect for abstract and non representational art.

    There's plenty of BS in the figurative artworld too.

    Woo, hijack.

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    pixeldragon: try to forget about all the hatred and just do the assignments. You never know what you can learn from them. Try to see everything as an learning opportunity and do it just for the sake of practice, if not for fun.

    I had a graphic design teacher who made us spend 4 hours cutting perfect squares, and only receive Cs or worse. We all complained what a jerk he is, and saying who needs to cut perfect squares when we have computers. Guess what, all that helped when I had my first internship. And one of my coworker told me he has to do everything without computer in his first job, even though that company was a big graphic design company.

    As for the teachers, my favorite is my first art teacher. He's so patient, always find somehting good to say about everyone's work. I learned a lot of basics from him, and get to try out different mediums. (and If anyone happen to know an artist with last name Ma from Hong Kong, do let me know.)

    My drawing I instructor was half b*tch. I say she's half b*tch b/c I did learn something useful. She's one of those modern abstract type. And she tries to force that onto all her students. I would've appricate her more if she didn't look down on realism and neat works. (Not to mention she insulted one of my freind in front of the whole class for no good reason.)

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    My drafting teacher in college. Oh god. Everyone hated her. She was also the n00bies drawing teacher and advanced life drawing teacher. Lucky me I managed to have classes with her for all of these courses during my college days. She was a hardass... Apparently worked with the famous Le Corbusier and was wealthy with knowledge. The thing is that she was similar to Madster but amplify that tenfold. Scary huh ? Anyhow, she just DESTROYED some of my drawings with her critiques on the first year ; Ripping the sheet of paper from the easel and shouting a few expletives and critiques...
    What do you do in this kind of situation ? You buck up and kick yourself in the ass to get better that's what you do. Everyone hated her and were speaking ill of her...

    BUT ! The day she retired, *everyone* and I mean *everyone* chipped in for a gift and a nice cake. We all found her teaching ways difficiult because she pushed us so hard. But in retrospect, we all knew that after these 2 years, we never would've been where we were at if it wasn't for her. It was very emotional and all, and I'm glad I went trough hell by her fire baptism.
    Plus this kind of teaching was weeding out the kids who got into the program "to have it easy until graduation.".

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    Quote Originally Posted by egerie
    My drafting teacher in college. Oh god. Everyone hated her. She was also the n00bies drawing teacher and advanced life drawing teacher. Lucky me I managed to have classes with her for all of these courses during my college days. She was a hardass... Apparently worked with the famous Le Corbusier and was wealthy with knowledge. The thing is that she was similar to Madster but amplify that tenfold. Scary huh ? Anyhow, she just DESTROYED some of my drawings with her critiques on the first year ; Ripping the sheet of paper from the easel and shouting a few expletives and critiques...
    What do you do in this kind of situation ? You buck up and kick yourself in the ass to get better that's what you do. Everyone hated her and were speaking ill of her...

    BUT ! The day she retired, *everyone* and I mean *everyone* chipped in for a gift and a nice cake. We all found her teaching ways difficiult because she pushed us so hard. But in retrospect, we all knew that after these 2 years, we never would've been where we were at if it wasn't for her. It was very emotional and all, and I'm glad I went trough hell by her fire baptism.
    Plus this kind of teaching was weeding out the kids who got into the program "to have it easy until graduation.".
    man! My drawing teacher use to be this hardcore when he first started teaching at CCAD (4 years ago) but now he's so gentle because he wants his students to like him! Wtf....

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    I've had a pretty mixed bag of teachers since being in college. A few have been incredible, some just good, some awful. The awful ones have been spectacularly bad too. None of all that Modernist propaganda though fortunately. The biggest problem I've had with a couple teachers is the old tell you one thing then tell you something completely different later. One teacher even argued with me...

    Her: "Why'd you do that? It looks terrible!"
    Me: "Umm thats what you told me to do, I was just following your advice"
    Her: "I didnt tell you to do that! Fix it, it looks like crap"

    That kind of thing has happened to me a few times with a few different teachers. All these horror stories really make me want to be a teacher even more than I already did. Maybe I'm young and idealistic but I'd like to change some of these prevailing "force modernism on everyone" beliefs. I personally dont have a problem with a lot of abstract stuff but I still firmly believe that there are certain things that all artists need to know, like how to draw at least half-way decently. Even if you decide to reject all that theory, at least you're doing it for a concious reason, not because you never learned it.
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    Pixel, yoru worried about high school art classes not being difficult? Wow, my art classes then were nothing. My teacher is a great man, lots of stories to tell, and I still talk to him a lot. But as a teacher for me...yeah not so much. He just taught me to have fun with what I was doing. Which meant abusing the cheap acrylic paint and making big canvases to adorn the school with. I didn't have to worry about a grade or if I was wasting time and money on what I was doing. I was on my own for learning, but I didn't care. I rather liked just having fun and not having to stress about art when I had some big science test in an hour. I just went home and learned how to actually draw
    college of course is different...but thats another story.

    A lot of you guys have really interesting stories, I must say.
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    egerie, your discription fits mr previous art teacher perfectly.

    God, she was so hard on pupils and their work, it seemed that she hated teaching

    I know you got to take the good crits with the bad, but thats where she differs. Her critism was rarely consistent. She critisies your beloved work until its as worthless as toilet paper, and when you act upon the critism, she rips the hell out of you because shes forgotten what she said earlier. By the time I caught on what I precieved to be the error of my ways, I would talk through with her on what my plan for a peice of work would be. 'thats fine' she would say; I get the all clear. I get through the work and when Im most satisfied with what I have done (a rare moment) she will creep up behind me and bellow down my ear about how everything I am doing is crap. I wish, I wish I i was joking, but thats what she was really like. In some ways, she was a pretty poor teacher. In consistent, short tempered, elitist, unjustified critism (as uposed to constructive). But, for what it was worth, you had to love her. She made art class a hell of a lot more intresting. She could be great, especialy when she would laugh at the smallest of things, as if she was on the verge of insanity.

    On top of that, we had two art teachers, as the course was split into two sections. Nothings more a hair spliting, nail biting experience as taking work back and forth to each teach, both of which can't decided on what the hell they want. One tells you to do one thing. To the other, thats wrong. and visa versa.

    One my most potent memories was Three art teachers standing in line opposite a freinds work. The freind in question is hiding behind them, blocked from seeing her work as they critises and argue on what they think of it, how it should be displayed, what she be improved.

    At the end of it, I came to realise that art is inevitably opinionated. You may think one thing, the teachers is going to think another. You've just got to believe that the teacher has knowledge and experience in the area that you wish to study and that they know best (hopefully )

    (longest rant I have ever done, and will ever do, honest)
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    One time in an art class a freind and I were shooting the breeze while drawing the subject, and somehow we ended up talking about pornography. Here's the clicher, though: We had completely forgotten that we were drawing a nude model.

    That class I didn't like because, while we had a few weeks of life drawing, they were of the same model. 'course, as it was an overpriced technically orientated school, that's all they decided to use. There was also the issue that I had trouble making out what the instructor was saying with her heavy asian (chinese, I think) accent.

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    I've got a teacher right now for life drawing class who has a major hate-on for me now. I can nothing to please this lady.

    In this class...I feel like I can't do anything right. I just get demoralized because I can't please her. Last friday I was so frustrated that I had to stay behind and talk to her. She'll tell me I'm doing something wrong and contradict herself while correcting me...I mean wtf! or she'll contradict herself when she explains why I'm wrong.

    example. Wieght drawing is two things. In your mind, you are creating the model out of clay, building it out from the center bit by bit. secondly, on paper, it is a black silhouette of conte. but what is important is what you feel as you are making that conte dwg. yet, she keeps telling me I'm not feeling it based on what *she sees in the picture I end up with. The feeling is the 'process' not the product!

    I tried talking to her which didn't work so I guess switching out is just another option. Finding that happy medium between me and her is another option but I don't know...it doesn't seem like the right thing to do...it's something that I shouldn't have to think about when I'm drawing. Nor is having to cheat by simply creating that big black blob just because I know it's what she wants to see.

    she's just not able to describe to us what she wants in words and she won't demonstrate it! We watched a demonstration video from Maxine(head honcho) and it was completely different than what Vivian has been making us do! sketchbooks...Vivian informed us two weeks ago that we were supposed to bedoing 20min a day in our life drawing books. and added that she was supposed to tell us that @ the beginning of the semester! I want to switch because I've lost confidence in her as a teacher I guess. argh. just argh man.
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    I don't think you guys understand. I WISH they would critisize me. THEY NEVER DO. I'm not wanting them to be easy, I want them to be hard, but I want them to give us some god damned flexiblity. I'm in Highschool by the way, if anyone missed that.

    You guys aren't getting this though- I'm not saying "How can they expect us to do that?", I'm asking WHY? Why not "Something with a whistle" So I could do like a goat dude with a pan flute? Stuff like that. Also- I'm not asking why about life drawing- I'm asking why about abstract shit that has nothing at all to do with improving or learning.

    I really hope my teachers decide to give us those evaluation things, because I tend to write a very, VERY persuasive letter.

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    Pixel: Theres nothing wrong with learning about other styles of art, wether it be crafts,abstract,anime,even all the boring stuff that we may find useless to the things we find awesome. In fact it'll make you an even better artist knowing all this stuff because you can integrate. Abstract in itself may seem to be like some splatter crap on a canvas style,but you can learn from it. Even use techniques such as abstract as a quick doodle, slowly building a form, adding lines and making a drawing. If you explore, styles like modern and abstract that we as most likely concept artists, illustrators, realist artists, might find 'rubbish' actually isnt. Its like studying anatomy in some ways, with abstract art, the randomness, the akward shapes, the obnoxious or dull colors could actually help with things like composition, mood, and form of many drawings.


    Its like using geometry in things like perspective drawings. (math isnt so useless in the art world...as much as i wish it was useless, its helpful.)
    Say you had two boxes, one that lies just under the horizon line, and one infront of it which looks bigger because its closer to you. They both lie on the same imaginary line that comes from the vanishing point to the edge of your paper or something. If you look at the angles of the boxes,particularly the ones that lie on the on the imaginary line coming from the vanishing point, as long as the boxes are parallel to each other, the angles will be the same, otherwise youd have a crooked box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeldragoon
    I don't think you guys understand. I WISH they would critisize me. THEY NEVER DO. I'm not wanting them to be easy, I want them to be hard, but I want them to give us some god damned flexiblity. I'm in Highschool by the way, if anyone missed that.
    You have to prod them a little bit then. I feel at times some teachers didn't want to become too harsh upfront because they don't want to get into issues with the students. Teachers who are openly critical constructively are very rare these days. Just last week I thought I produced crap but still managed an A. I talked to my teach and she gave me the reasons why she handed me an A and also gave me a more detailed breakdown on where I could've scored better. So sometimes you gotta go to the mountain to seek the wise man....just don't assume that because you paid for your education, your teachers will do their job properly.
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    Everyone has to deal with this kind of stuff, and I agree with most of what's been said above. -But It's up to you to decide if you're getting enough out of your education. You're responsible for making sure you're learning what you feel you should be learning. That's a tough thing to figure out considering that you can go through all the BS projects and not find out until much later that you actually did learn something useful from them. But if you weigh everything, and decide you're not getting what you should be getting, you can always just sacrifice the grade and hand in something more along the lines of what you think you need to do. A good porfolio is more than enough to ballance out bad grades.

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    Crits and compliments are two different beasts. The teacher I was telling about earlyer made ONE "compliment" at the end of the year, last course, last hour : "Ah well, you're starting to learn it seems.". These words are burnt in my memory forever. It felt so GOOD I doubt you can appreciate it's implications after one year of constant criticism, intimidation, etc. I had been working so hard on that last piece for the course it was so rewarding... But I knew better than to rest on my laurels. Because she'd teach year two ! *gasp*

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    Just today we had a critique on Observational drawings. Just plain, observational drawings (In lithocrayon).

    So many were horrible. She never once commented on form or shape or anything aobut the objects. It was only about value and composition, and alot of the time the perspective was horrid, or the value was utter crap, either all too light, all to dark, no contrast, etc. Well, I decided to speak out on one that I didn't like particularly. This is a problem because I am in the same class as the populars. The one I critisized was one I don't terribly dislike- he's really "STYLISTIC" though, and as you all know, young people hate realism and lurve teh style, so I got flamed for it. "YEAH WELL I DON'T LIKE YOURS BECAUSE YOU'R GAY AND JEALOUS AND STUPID." and sometimes even "YOURS IS WAY TOO REALISTIC."
    I asked them why they didn't like it, but they only said the above. I asked the teacher why we always do so much abstract stuff. She suddenly got defensive and I backed off, but I said just as I left the class that These kids really need to work on the fundamentals still. The majority shouldn't have passed drawing 1. Not because of lack of skill, but because of lack of Caring.

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    the only important thing is that YOU care. You seem to care enough for all of them actually At least you know what you need and want to focus on. Buck it up if you can't change class/school for now. There will be plenty other opportunities afterwards. Or at least there should be if you don't give up !

  29. #28
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    Dude: If I change my class then It will look bad on my college record and show that I'm not dedicated, and if I change schools, well- I'm going to a charter school for the Arts. However it appears that visual arts is their worst arena. We have no support whatsoever, we never have art shows or anything- everything we do is pretty much totally independent from the rest of the school.

  30. #29
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    sounds to me like someones got a case of the mondays.

  31. #30
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    Bingo.

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