Here Comes A City

An Interview with Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes seemingly overnight, local artist Marc Gooderham has made it his mission to capture these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur, that are beginning to vanish before our eyes. In the run up to his exhibition Here Comes A City, opening February 8th 2018, we took the opportunity to ask Marc about his paintings and his project.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….

There are two. Naturally the paintbrush, but also the highly underrated yet extremely versatile piece of chalk!

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How long have you been painting and drawing? When did you start out?

As far back as I can remember. As a child I would sit and draw for hours. Still lifes, portraits, intricate buildings using pen and ink. The first piece of art I sold was to my art teacher at school. He kindly parted with £150 for a still life piece. As a kid, this was all very exciting. I tried not to let that first sale go to my head…honestly.

All your pieces come from real locations, mostly in London. What is it about the urban landscape that appeals to you?

I’ve always lived in London, so it’s a place I know and love. A place of intrigue and new experiences. It’s the contrast of old and new and glimmers of a forgotten time that really appeal to me.

Buildings with a fallen, crumbling exterior always hold an evocative beauty. Cities are a physical thing, they’re made up of lines and interesting forms, and the complexities of architecture and perspective can be challenging at times. But it’s all these things that make it the perfect subject to paint. Buildings command our attention. They’re our homes, places of work, places we admire and fall in love with. They help us navigate our way through life.

What is your process for working on a new piece? 

The only real way of getting to know a city is by walking it. Familiarising myself with the street level views. Making preparatory sketches and photographs. Revisiting a potential location at different times of day – sketch as much as possible! It has to have all the right components, which help make the final composition. Light and shade, suggestions of human life, a glow or reflection in a window, lights shimmering in the distance. These all give harmony and unity to a picture. Once these are in place, I begin work in the studio.

You are now working more with chalk pastels instead of painting, was there anything in particular that drew you to a new medium?

Working with charcoal and chalk pastels has been quite a liberating experience. I am still painting, producing large canvas pieces each month, again of the urban landscape.  I will always paint, however the pastel/charcoal lends itself to working quickly and more instinctively, 50% of the picture is created using my fingers.  There isn’t a lot of room for mistakes which adds to the excitement of this medium, speed is of the essence! It’s about capturing a certain feel or atmosphere and ultimately exercising the art of freehand drawing. It gives the artist a sketch – like fluidity.

Do find yourself returning to locations?

All of time. The locations are very familiar to me. Old haunts or places I have lived naturally become the subject of my work. The city is changing at such a rapid pace, there will always be a new discovery.

What is your favourite takeaway?

 Quite simply ‘Babur To Go.

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New Church Street Screen Print!

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As you may remember, back in June we ran a charity auction for The Abney Park Trust with John Gosler’s original art. Thanks to everyone’s support and efforts we were able to raise £260 for the charity. Don’t forget we still have a few of the cemetery maps and festival posters for sale if you’re interested in owning a bit of Stoke Newington history!

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While working with John on getting the auction together, we found another original in his collection. The piece was made in the same scraper board technique as the festival posters and featured a streetscape based upon the shops and buildings lining Stoke Newington Church Street. It was also done around the same time in the mid-90s to promote the Stoke Newington Midsummer Festival. We loved it so much we decided to reproduce it ourselves to sell in the shop!

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Since the scraper board left such a distinctive woodcut style texture, we wanted to pick up as much of that as possible and decided that a screen print would reproduce it best. We worked with Mark at Atom Gallery in Newington Green who printed them up for us, on  beautiful Southbank Smooth 310 gsm paper stock, hand pulling each one in a limited edition of 500. Each print is hand numbered and embossed with the Of Cabbages & Kings logo for authenticity.

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People frequently ask after locally themed prints, so we are delighted to be able to offer something drawn, made and printed right here, and exclusively available from Of Cabbages & Kings!

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MESH Studio with Marcelina Amelia

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On July 6th 2017 we will be hosting the official launch of MESH Studio with Marcelina Amelia here at Of Cabbages and Kings in Stoke Newington. On the opening night there will be a special pop-up shop from 5:30-9pm and the exhibition will run from July 7th until the end of August. We spoke with Marcelina to find out a bit more about MESH and the idea behind the brand.

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MESH is a multidisciplinary art brand and design studio founded by artist Marcelina Amelia: Meshing shit up!

Marcelina has taken her artwork beyond the confines of the canvass and has applied it to affordable art objects and wearable art as well as limited edition prints, books and other artworks in a range of different media. Rather than focusing on product design, Marcelina often combines her image making with found household objects to create a series of one-offs within a theme.MESH_STUDIO_GICLEEPRINTS_POSTER_MARCELINAAMELIA.jpgThe Mission Statement:

“Our aim is to embody the term ‘Renaissance girl’, and as the name suggests, we love mixing different techniques and forms, like screen-printing, fashion, painting, ceramics, publications, illustration, politics and activism, because art shouldn’t have any boundaries. We hope that this fluid and meshy structure of the brand, will allow us to collaborate more and make a lot of exciting work and happenings.

MESH’s first collection is titled The Unsatisfied Girls Club and is inspired by the recent movement of strong and powerful women who aren’t afraid to walk tall and proud, manifesting their thoughts, fighting for their rights at the Women’s Marches and other activist happenings all around the world. 

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The Unsatisfied Girls Club is a movement of women wanting and deserving more. Women uplifting each other, and rolling their eyes at the old outdated, stereotypical ways, not being ashamed of their ‘girliness’, standing for themselves and each other, because being a women isn’t a weakness. Research shows that many women are conforming to outdated stereotypes and acting ‘like an alpha male’ to succeed at work – including dressing like a man and hiding ‘girlie’ emotions.”

You can also read our interview with Marcelina on the blog from a few years ago when she had her last exhibition us.

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Adam Bartlett – Painting and Process

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We are excited to announce our next exhibition with Adam Bartlett aka Tigers of the Universe. You may have seen his prints in the shop over the few months, and we’ll be looking forward to see what comes next! Adam will be exhibiting some original paintings alongside limited edition giclée prints. The show opens with a private view on Thursday April 13th from 6:30pm, we hope you can join us.

Adam creates his paintings by building up many layers of painted patterns to create beautiful decorative artworks.  We were able to grab Adam for a few questions to ask about his work and process.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….
My weapon of choice is the trusty pencil, followed closely by the brush.

How long have you been painting for? When did you start out?.
It feels like I have always been drawing and painting, although previously I was a digital illustrator for 8 years. It’s only been the in last 3 years that I’ve started painting again.

You often use a combination of media in your paintings, such as acrylic, spray paint, emulsion and even enamel. How do these combinations influence your final pieces?
The various mediums are used in layers. Emulsion is the base and finally the enamel for fine details. It’s not a hard and fast process, but more something that i enjoy. Also the paints have their own strengths and combined have good contrast and character. I am often unsure of the paints influence regarding the final piece, but more often than not pleasantly surprised.

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Many of your pieces have jungle animals and lush landscapes. Are they inspired by travel or imaginary locations?
The animals and forests are pure fantasy. I long for a world covered in jungle and forests where the animals and birds can roam free. The natural world is so stunning and I want to capture this in my paintings.

You have also worked in fashion textiles and design, does this background influence your current work?
More and more I feel the influence of textiles creeping back into the paintings, not only with introducing texture again, but thinking about fabric designs etc. It’s exciting to come full circle and bring these various experiences together again, but with a fresh perspective.

Do find you that you come back to certain motifs, themes and colours over pieces?
Yes, I think its important to keep certain repetitive elements in your paintings. Sometimes I feel guilty about repeating things, as if I’m not pushing myself enough, in which case exploiting repetitiveness will suffice.

What is your favourite takeaway?
Mmm, fish n chips or shish kebab

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The Origin of A

By George Cullen.

I’m starting a series of blog posts about the materials of printing. In these I will examine with more detail, the materials and methods behind the prints at Of Cabbages and Kings. First up in the series I am going to look at paper size and how it came to be that so many artists work with the same paper measurements – in particular the ‘A’ size.

You’re probably already aware that a lot of the paper our artists use and the paper you use at home or at work is an ‘A’ size. As a result so are a lot of the frames that we stock, especially the more popular ones. So what is ‘A’ size paper?

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A diagram showing how A sizes fit in relation to each other.

‘A’ sizes form a group of papers whose dimensions are exactly half of the larger one before it, while also maintaining the same proportions. For example an A3 sheet is made up of two A4 sheets and two A5 sheets can me made from one A4. A0 being the largest sheet in the series at 841 x 1189mm.

The ‘A’ size paper measurements began their life in Germany in the 1920s. The standardisation was introduced by the ‘Deutsches Institut für Normung’ German Institute for Standardisation aka DIN who were responsible for the standardisation of many elements of German society including industrial output and technology. They have a wide range, for example DIN 72552 is responsible for electric terminal numbers in automobiles where as the one for paper size is DIN 476. There is even a typeface DIN 1451 which was designed in 1931 for its legibility.

The ‘A’ sizes and their metric measurements were adopted by Britain in the 50’s as part of the metrication of measurements and replaced ‘Foolscap’ which was 8½ × 13½ inches. DIN 476 allowed paper sizes to be standardised across Europe and many parts of the world. By 1975 so many countries were using DIN 476 it was established as ISO 216, which is the ‘International Organisation for Standardisation’ and ISO 216 is the official United Nations document format used today. ISO216 is used in every country in the world, apart from the United States and Canada whose paper ‘US Letter’ and ‘P1, P2’ etc is still based on an imperial measuring system.

The largest A0 sheet has an area of one square meter, which was the result of Germany adopting the metric system for their measurements. This also aided in measuring the weight. As paper weight is worked out as grams per square meter (gsm). So the weight of a sheet of paper is how many grams are per a square meter of that paper. The heavier the paper, the higher the gsm and generally the better quality!

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An A4 sheet showing folds of A6 and A5

So why isn’t A0 a simple meter square? Well this reveals the simple elegance of the ‘A’ measurements. If you fold a square in half you get two rectangles that bear no resemblance to the original proportions. The A sizes allow you to fold the paper in half and get the same proportioned piece of paper as a result. This is great when you have to resize artwork to fit different sheets of paper, perfectly demonstrated in the giclée prints of Mister Peebles. The ‘A’ size is used to give you the choice of having a larger or smaller print, without compromising the original artwork.

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 Mister Peebles – Scale Great Heights in A2, A3 and A6 sizes

So next time you are in Of Cabbages and Kings and looking at prints, take some time to consider the paper sizes. If you can’t spot the A sizes straight away look at the back, where we have written the dimensions. You might want to think about how you hang them on the wall at home. You could have one large A1 print or instead four A3 ones in the same space. That is the joy of the ‘A’ system as the structure is already set down in the large A0 and the other sizes are worked out by halving the space.

An Interview with Lauren Mortimer

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Our next exhibition will be with London based illustrator Lauren Mortimer. The opening night is on Thursday September 1, from 7-9pm, and the show will hang until the end of October.

We love Lauren’s graphite illustrations that combine nature elements in unexpected ways, and so it was very exciting when we got to sit down with Lauren for an interview and find out more about the lady herself and her artistic process.Lauren Mortimer_Profile

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
The pencil is pretty much my best friend!

You originally studied Fashion Promotion at Central St. Martins. Has that influenced your current illustration work?
I think that it must have influenced my current work on some level, though if it has, not purposefully. By not having an illustration background, it allowed me to have more freedom and find my style quickly. My work does lend itself well to the fashion world though… I do a lot of editorial work for instance for fashion magazines.Lauren Mortimer Prints_2Many of your pieces include visual puns and hidden meanings, as well as surrealist combinations. How do those themes come together for your pieces?
I think the wonderful thing about illustration is that you can create anything you like on a piece of paper. There are no limits. Though my work is very realistic, I like to mix themes and merge objects together to create something more visually exciting – something that isn’t a reality. Patterns and texture play a huge part of my work too. I like to change the meaning of the objects, and nature will always be huge starting point for me.
 

Some of the projects you’ve worked on include illustrating books. Can you tell us a bit about the process for a larger project like that?
I’ve got 5 books under my belt so far, and I’m working my way through the final artwork of my 6
th, a colouring book. The wonderful thing about big projects like these is that you have a physical product at the end of it with all of your artwork put together. You see it in a different context to the piece of paper you created it on, and you have that proud moment. When my two cocktail books, Tequila Mockingbird, and Gone With The Gin arrived in the post from the publisher, it was really exciting, and definitely a highlight for me.Lauren Mortimer_Gone With The Gin Cover GWTG_Lauren Mortimer_Blade Rummer

There is a slightly macabre and dark undertone to many of your pieces, is that something you find yourself consciously drawn to? Do you find that graphite lends itself particularly well to those themes?
I think that it’s just my style and my interests that come together that way. By contrasting an object that’s soft and beautiful with something that’s hard, for instance, enhances each of them, and creates something poetic in my eyes. For me it’s more about how the viewer interprets it. Everyone should take what he or she wants from it in their own way.

How long have you been making prints?
I’ve been producing limited edition prints for about 4 years now! Time flies!

What is your favourite takeaway?
That’s easy… Pizzzzaaaaaaa!  

Thanks so much! You can see more of Lauren’s work on our website or in the shop. Feel free to pop by on Thursday the 1st to meet her in person, enjoy the work up on the walls and have a glass of wine.

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On The Other Side Of Town by Tom Berry

Tom Berry creates intricate drawings mainly with pen and ink. His original illustrations, which often feature animal and nature scenes with incredible depth and detail are then giclée printed in limited editions.

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Recently, Tom launched a Kickstarter to help publish his first illustrated book ‘On The Other Side Of Town‘. The campaign was so successful that it was fully funded in just over 24 hours, and he was able to do a print run of 1000 copies! The book is in a large format, with 24 pages and 15 detailed original illustrations and short poems. Together they tell the story of a busy town and the characters that make it. Each book in this first edition is numbered out of 1000 and signed by Tom.

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As a part of his Kickstarter campaign Tom filmed part of the process of illustrating the book as well as images from his early morning commutes through the city that provided his inspiration. He found that travelling at unusual times of the day revealed further layers of the city, in people and buildings than he would encounter during the day. These layers became the fantastical illustrations and poems found in the book.

We have ‘On The Other Side of Town’ and a number of Tom’s original digital prints in stock in the shop and online.

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An Interview with Freya Cumming

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Spring is just about here. Or at least surely it must be close – we can almost smell it! Also, right around the corner is our brand new exhibition with one of Of Cabbages and Kings’ longest standing collaborators Freya Cumming. Freya will be traveling down from Dundee with her latest collection of screen prints fresh of the drying rack. The private view is on Thursday May 5th from 6:30 – 9pm. We hope you can make it along. In the meantime, we caught up with Freya and found out a little bit more about her art process and influences.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
I use them all, but if I had too choose one, my weapon of choice would be a propelling pencil. I love ’em! 

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Your art features many repetitive motifs (hot air balloons, Victorian figures, the ocean, etc.). Do you feel like you work with themes or that you are drawn to a particular image?
I don’t think that I have any particular themes other than that most of the work I enjoy making has some form of pattern, however small a detail it is, it’ll be in there! The balloon images became a theme by accident, I lived in Bristol for seven years and I thought one day I might try a balloon print, as they are such a familiar sight in the city. I enjoyed the endless possibilities of patterns and colours within the balloons and so I got quite carried away and produced a whole series of these. 

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Your images feature many built up layers. Can you tell us a bit more about that process? 
One of the pleasures of screen printing for me, is the ability to play around with the opacity of the inks when mixing them. Printing in overlapping layers, in varying opacity can come up with colours and effects that I aren’t planned, but that make printmaking more interesting for me. I like making it up as I go along! It makes what can be a very technical process, much more interesting and spontaneous.  

Can you tell us a bit more about founding Snap Studio, the artists co-operative in Bristol?
It all came about very serendipitously. My friend Frea and I were manning a pop-up shop in an old hairdressers in Bristol for a few days. We were chatting about how amazing it would be to have a studio, gallery and printmaking facilities under one roof. The man who had the keys to the hairdressers, just so happened to be the founding member of the ethical property company, and owner of  a beautiful 16th century building across the street. He offered it to us at a really reasonable rate which allowed us to seek help from the co-operative development agency in Bristol and go on to form a co-op with six other printmaking friends. We are all either just graduated/ or graduating, so it was perfect timing. It was the perfect setting- post-uni to have somewhere to work. 

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You recently moved back to your hometown in rural Scotland. Has this move changed or influenced your work? 
I’ve realised with hindsight that it did at the time. I’ve always been inspired by my surroundings so suddenly, instead of urban scenes, I was drawing chickens and squirrels. I found I missed the urban landscape and I realised there was a danger that my work was unintentionally becoming overly countrified, so I moved my studio from the village to nearby Dundee.

How long have you been printing?
I learned to screen print the same year I graduated in 2001 – so on and off, around fifteen years of squeegeeing ! 

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What is your favourite takeaway?
All of them?!. I live in the middle of nowhere though so takeaway is rare! No-one will deliver this far either 😦

Made You Look screening and Q&A

When we heard about the documentary Made You Look we just knew that we had to get involved. The film is primarily about printmaking and the digital age. The documentary interviews a number of established artists from across the UK about their work and how they view art and making in the middle of a digital revolution.

Process of an Anthony Burrill print.
Process of an Anthony Burrill print.

In our gallery and shop space we work with a number of artists who also print at Print Club London, a studio space that gives artists access to screenprinting equipment on a membership basis. Many of the artists in the film are also members of Print Club, which is located down the road from us in Dalston.

Hattie Stewart in the Made You Look documentary
Hattie Stewart from Made You Look documentary

We have organized a screening of the film on Monday October 26, at 6:00pm, at the Hackney Picturehouse. There will be a Q&A afterwards with one of the co-directors, Anthony Peters, and producer David Waterson. You can purchase tickets through Ourscreen for the event. We need to sell a certain number of tickets before October 18 in order to have the screening go ahead, so please purchase your tickets soon or we’ll all miss out!

You can watch the trailer for the movie here.

The synopsis of the film is below.

The last 15 years has seen a boom in the UK graphic arts and illustration industry, with a DIY scene emerging and prospering alongside new and affordable leaps in technology.

So much of our lives is now spent in the virtual digital realm, so what will become of the tactile objects we all hold so dear? Will we see books disappear in our lifetime? And why are more and more creatives moving away from the computer and getting back to using their hands to create art, both commercially and for art’s sake.

Made You Look is a documentary which sets out to explore the landscape of the commercial arts in the 21st Century. It’s a film that gives an insight into how modern creative people feel about the challenges and triumphs of living in a hyper digital age.

This film is a rare and candid insight into the work of some of the UK’s top creative talent, including beautifully shot footage of artists at work and play in their own creative environments.

Pete Fowler painting from the documentary Made You Look
Pete Fowler painting.

Anthony did a keynote talk at the Blogtacular conference in June, which they have just released for the public to watch. He talks about how he got the idea for the movie, some sneak peeks into the making of, and the importance of making.

We hope to see you at the screening!

Who Is Mister Peebles?

Who Is Mister Peebles?We’ve got another exhibition coming up, this time with perennial favourite, Mister Peebles! The exhibition will open on Thurs Sept 3, from 7-9pm, here in the shop and continues until the end of October. There will be prints and cards in new and old designs, and even some Peebles originals! We did a little interview with Helen McGinley, the artist behind Mister Peebles to find out a bit more about how those punny creatures come to life.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
A combination of mechanical pencils, watercolour pencils, water and very small brushes.

Who is Mister Peebles?
Mister Peebles is the man with the animals, he meets them on his world travels. He is quite a shy sort of chap and while at home prefers to sit in his chair, drink tea and read tales. I draw his animals, keep the teapot filled and listen to his stories.

How did you get into the business of drawing punny animals?
A few years ago I was working at a job that wasn’t really going anywhere. I decided to leave a cold January in London and went to summer in Tasmania with my husband to be. I didn’t have a working visa so I spent the days drawing and looking at the Tasmanian landscape. The animals and puns just seemed to introduce themselves to the pages. I would draw plants and food and phrases but most of the sketches seemed to be animal or pun related in the end. Once back in London I decided to start a little range of cards and prints and the puns kept appearing!

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What is your process for creating your pieces?
Each drawing is quite different. Some begin with the word or phrase and others with the creature. Some take a day, other much longer. I like to sketch out a rough idea and then add all the details and textures. Building up the layers of fur, feathers or fabric with watercolours is my favourite part of the process. There are always multiple colours in each texture, even if it ends up looking like a flat colour, it rarely is. I usually colour the eyes in first. I think the eyes are key to giving the creature their personality. Once the drawing is completed I scan it, clean it up and add lettering, either by hand or in Photoshop. Then everything is printed here in the studio or by our helpful printers.

Do you find yourself returning to themes or characters with your work?
I often return to a particular animal over and over. Bears are a current favourite and it’s great to really sit and learn what an animal looks like by drawing them a lot. I love to read about a species and their habits when I am drawing them, I think it helps to inform the illustrations and the themes behind them. I also clearly can’t resist a pun or a play on words so that is often the start of a idea which grows from there.

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How long have you been drawing?
I’ve been drawing since I was small. I was lucky my parents encouraged it and I went to schools with passionate art teachers that helped me keep it going. I studied Costume Design at Edinburgh College of Art and there was a lot of life drawing involved, which I always loved. We got to draw models wearing stripy socks and holding stuffed alligators or surrounded by props. It was great!

I have been drawing the puns and animals since finding Mister Peebles in 2011.

What is your favourite takeaway?
That’s a tough one! It has to be either pizza from Zaza Express or a curry from Bombay Munch, depending on the day. Always with a cold beer. Mister Peebles is a big fan of Sutton & Sons fish and chips. 

Thanks Helen and Mister Peebles! We look forward to seeing you September 3. 

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