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  #26  
Old 05-16-2003, 12:40 AM
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sculptorsam sculptorsam is offline
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I agree that you need to learn basic language to express yourself, and you then can move on to better things, but I?m afraid many artists, and the public at large, see craft first and originality second. I think that cheapens art and is a societal danger.
The greater threat is art becoming irrelevant to the vast majority of people because it consists of blue dots on white masonite.

Who can seriously be against something being well-made? Do you think Falkner is poorly written? Joyce? One of the greatest books ever written is Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The union of structure and language boggles the mind.

A great concept in Zen is that of the "beginner's mind." It means to approach the world freshly, as if for the first time. It cautions against the mind of the expert, because they can be too locked into their specialty and accepted knowledge. This can blind them to the world. Trying to approach one's work with a "beginner's mind" is to be aspired to.

But there is a difference between a beginner's mind and an ignorant mind. Falkner and Joyce approached the world with a love of language, the desire to see with their own eyes, and to describe authentically what they saw. They sought to improve their own work and the craft of their work. Witness the astounding progression of Joyce for example. The "artist" that paints a blue dot has no concern for any of that. They insult the memory of true artists with their willful ignorance.

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Last edited by sculptorsam : 05-17-2003 at 09:50 AM.
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  #27  
Old 05-16-2003, 01:39 AM
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There is a middle ground (the most fertile) in which neither the technical skill nor the idea has complete dominance, but rather share the burden.
In good art, both perhaps need exist.

A single minute may well be more than enough time to create a great work of art. A visually poor or limited concept is never saved by craft. And a weak idea is laid bare by willful disregard for technique, even if the idea is disregard for technique
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  #28  
Old 05-16-2003, 10:15 AM
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Originally posted by Araich
A single minute may well be more than enough time to create a great work of art. A visually poor or limited concept is never saved by craft. And a weak idea is laid bare by willful disregard for technique, even if the idea is disregard for technique [/b]



This says it all.

Here is to the blue dots from a master craftsman.
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  #29  
Old 05-16-2003, 06:23 PM
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jeff koons's sculpture, michael jackson and bubbles, was bought in 1991 for $250,000 by a chicago collector, who then sold it two years ago for $5.6 million at sotheby's. does it matter that he never touched mud but hired a crack team of italian ceramicists to realize his idea?
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  #30  
Old 05-16-2003, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Here is to the blue dots from a master craftsman.
ROFLMAO!

Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
...does it matter that he never touched mud but hired a crack team of italian ceramicists to realize his idea?
Yes, and paradoxically, no.
I think great art can come from either the artists own hands, the hands of assistants or the hands of a whole team - even from a machine.
But removing the hand of the artist from the work forces a re-assesment of the artist in relation to the work.
A close working realtionship with an assistant may well overcome the technical limitations of the artist, but his work looses an aspect.
This may or may not have any impact on the quality of the art.

IMHO
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  #31  
Old 05-17-2003, 05:25 AM
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The blurred line

A great place to see craft that is really art is the Metals Museum in Memphis. In my mind the highest of a craft becomes art, but perhaps sometimes in a different way than originally intended.

It is fairly easy to look at some highly crafted objects such as a hand-made teapot for instance and see it as pure craft. However there are those that have pushed that definition such as Ken Ferguson. I have one of his teapots he gave me while at KCAI, similar to the one in the Nelson Museum, and folks, we aren't going to be using it to pour tea.

But I have to say it is a good example of the blurred line, still firmly rooted in the functional, and in medium that has a tremendous craft tradition.
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  #32  
Old 05-28-2003, 02:11 PM
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Artisans unite ...

Whew - three pages and counting ...
My background is not as a sculptor but an artisan. And, for me, therein lies the "crux of the biscuit" (Frank Zappa).

"Art" without "Craft" is like a poem in gibberish. "Craft" without "Art" is a waste of time, skill and material.

We have learned the most about ancient cultures from their poetry and pottery. Poorly made pottery did not usually survive for us to find. Nor did artless poetry.

Conversely, pottery without Art tells us little of the potter and poetry without Craft is bound to be wildly misinterpreted.

Note: Most thesauri list both as synonyms.
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  #33  
Old 06-24-2003, 11:54 AM
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Crux of the Biscuit

It's probably not best to enter a disscussion by quoting someone else but Georges invoked Zappa and I thought this appropriate; from The Real Frank Zappa Book, Touchstone - Simon and Shuster...."

The most important thing in art is The Frame. For painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively - because, without this humble appliance, you can't know where The Art stops and The Real World begins.

You have to put a 'box' around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?

If john Cage, for instance, says, "I'm putting a contact microphone on my throat, and I'm going to drink carrot juice, and that's my compostition, " then his gurgling qualifies as his composition because he put a frame around it and said so. "Take it or leave it, I now will this to be music." After that it's a matter of taste. Without the frame-as-announced, it's a guy swallowing carrot juice.

"....This quote should actually uses bold and itallic emphisis, which , unfortunately, I can't replicate here.

I've been straddling this question of craft and art with a new series of sculptures called 'The Sunshine Series'. Shown is SP1, copyright 2000. If I show this in a lighting shop it's craft 'a functional object with emphisis on the function', if I show it in a gallery it's ART.
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  #34  
Old 08-12-2003, 03:08 PM
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Art/craft contrast

It is interestingly unfortunate that professional sculptors,are not able to have a unianimous conclusion on this issue of contrast between art/craft.
Cgl,(creative gentlemen and ladies), May l know the relationship between art /craft?
It is interesting because, most of the contribution given are individual ideas,it is also unfortunate because these ideas ,though intelligent are not accepted by some of us.

Craft gave birth to modern art,while art as an expression of ones thought could be represented in, sound, performed or visualised.the relationship between them is that , both are expressions of inner feelings, whichever way it is represented, notwithstanding.The contrast therefore is based on the uniqueness of these individual expressions.
While the original expression remains ,the imitation becomes the craft.

Again, like my fellow sculptors, this is what l think.

Cletus.
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  #35  
Old 08-20-2003, 12:09 PM
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Throughout this thread "craft" seems to be used in two different ways.
One way is a category of work, which is how this thread got started, i.e., "art versus craft".
The other is technique, the skills and methods to create something, e.g. "craftsmanship".

Regarding technique, Araich put it best: "There is a middle ground (the most fertile) in which neither the technical skill nor the idea has complete dominance, but rather share the burden."

In otherwords, the technique is in perfect support and harmony with the intent of the piece. It could be possible for technique considered sloppy or poor in some contexts to be in perfect support of the intent of a work of art.

As for "Art vs. Craft" -

A piece will be part of a tradition.
Any given living tradition is heading somewhere, usually to some kind of perfection as defined by the tradition. A Master of that tradition knows where it's going and can advance the state of the art a little closer to perfection, i.e. the telos of the tradition. Art (specifically a masterpiece) is out front advancing a tradition closer to its telos, craft is somewhere in the back tracing well beaten paths.

Again Araich states it nicely "In craft, you start with a firm idea of the outcome. You take proven steps.

In art, you dive in. Sink or swim. It's a personal journey"
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  #36  
Old 08-20-2003, 09:20 PM
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art/craft redux

You're right on essentially all counts. Craft as a category or field aims lower conceptually than Art. Craft as technique is equally important in most fields, including Art. After this many posts, we are beginning to go round in circles, but it’s still good to get new input. One observation missing to date, I think, is the fact that Art itself as concept seems to be uniquely Western, and relatively modern, if circa 1500 counts as modern.

I posted somewhere, in this thread, I think, a paraphrase of some author to the effect that Michelangelo was the first sculptor who also was an Artist. Prior to him, sculptors were “mere stoneworkers”, in the same category presumably as farmers or herders. His talent was so exceptional that he was called, in his own day, “The Divine” or "Il Divino”.

Art historians, to my knowledge, observe that all objects made in relatively primitive cultures are simply utilitarian, with the possible exception of religious creations. Simple cultures have no category of “Art” - creation for its own sake. Am I wrong on this? I’ve never had a course in art history, so I’ll appreciate a broader view if anyone is willing to present one.

Last edited by fritchie : 08-20-2003 at 09:22 PM.
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  #37  
Old 08-21-2003, 11:48 AM
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Artmaking has always been close to systems that seek to wrestle with the big questions about life. Cave painting would be a good place to start. No one doubts that these paintings were done for ritual purposes.

Michelangelo had a teacher - Pheidias. "Athenian sculptor, the artistic director of the construction of the Parthenon, who created its most important religious images and supervised and probably designed its overall sculptural decoration. It is said of Phidias that he alone had seen the exact image of the gods and that he revealed it to man. He established forever general conceptions of Zeus and Athena." See the quote source here.
It sounds like Pheidias was like Moses bringing down the Ten Commandments.

Note that both Pheidias and Michelangelo had major patrons interested in more than decoration. Both created images of the divine - Pheidias gave a likeness to Zeus, Michelangelo painted a muscular grey bearded man on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel meant to represent God. My point here is that they were not creating art for art's sake, they had major institutional clients to serve but they garnered very high praise anyway.

Modern philosophy leaves artists with very little to do, so in order to survive we have to invent the concept of "art for art's sake". Thin gruel, as far as I'm concerned, but I suppose we have to make due.
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  #38  
Old 08-21-2003, 03:11 PM
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"Modern philosophy leaves artists with very little to do"

I don't think our age is the first to claim the last word on art and philosophy and I very much doubt that it will be the last age to do so. The statement above seems true, and it does seem true, due to our inability to see 'what comes next'.

Whenever I hear someone expounding on the nature of 'real art' I get the sense I'm being sold something.

There is nothing wrong with chasing innovation or, conversely, rubbing an already polished concept further - we've all seen success within each of these directions. Success measured in the momentary or prolonged and profound acknowledgement

"now isn't that clever".
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  #39  
Old 08-25-2003, 09:36 PM
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art vs craft

This debate seems to rage on in my mind anytime I begin a piece. I have to wonder what will be the more fulfilling creative experience for me, the idea behind a work or the actual crafting of that work.
For me, I have to struggle with both. Sometimes I will lose my original ideas in the crafting of an object and that resulting object becomes pointless as art. On the other hand I can become so awed by an idea that it can never be made because it is already finished in my mind. Either way, using the ideas of art and craft to create a work becomes a balance of imagination and technique.
Most important to a sculpture is the crafting of it. There is a very physical process with sculpting an object and it feels very different from other artistic forms. I do not see the main difference between an artist and a crafts people as their difference of creativity. I am sure that crafts people may run into problems with creating an object that requires a new and creative approach; or, they may need a creative idea to begin working on an object. In regards to creativity, artists to crafts people is like comparing apples to oranges. They might look different, but they both taste good.
However, there is still a very significant difference between the two. Crafts people are only out to create the object, while artists then to have a theory or intent above sales for a work. In this case, an artist will be willing to destroy their work for art's sake, while a crafts person would certainly not because they see the object as the finished product. Artists cannot be afraid to make a statement even if it means destruction of an amazing object. Artists should be in this for the feelings and ideas behind what they visually represent through sculpture, not their wood, marble, steel, plaster, plastic, or whatever is used to convey the message. The medium is always expendable to an artist, but never to a craftsperson.
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  #40  
Old 08-27-2003, 03:53 PM
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Lots of heavy stuff above, and I hesitate to try to add to it. This duality is of course itself the focus of lots of art: DuChamps' urinal; Picasso's bicycle-seat Bull; maybe most of Warhol's work and whole "schools" that follwed those folks, seem to pose this issue very directly. It may be as un-resolvable as the Chicken / egg duality, and no more important. In general I greatly prefer the looking at Art to the talking about it. But, I've had the opportunity to see a good many ancient Inuit and Upik artifacts. Most of these are "utilitarian" objects: harpoon points, "sinkers", tools and games pieces; done in stone and bone mostly, by some people who sat around a grease fire and, I'm sure, never heard of "Art". Yet I'm damned if they're not among the highest caliber abstract sculptures I've ever seen. Some do have purely "decorative" elements, but if so they are very subtle and fitting. If they were simply larger, their scale and proportions and "form" are simply beautiful to my eye. Maybe they are only "Craft" and the "Art" resides only in my eye, but I can't believe it was not also in theirs, though maybe unnamed.
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  #41  
Old 08-27-2003, 09:38 PM
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1ST

“First we eat then we think on it”, Seneca. Perhaps the expendable in the equation material\artists\craftsperson is EAT,. FIRST IN BED, and A CLEAN PIECE OF TISSUE.

Ardor
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  #42  
Old 12-03-2003, 05:21 PM
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chicken/egg

Jwebb

It is not the "chicken/egg duality" but the chegg/egken duality. I've this piece of green nylon that someone discarded to clear a weed eater. When it unfolds it is a chickenthatbecomesanegg
or aneggthatbecomesachicken.

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Art is provocation. Go forth and provoke.
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  #43  
Old 12-03-2003, 07:21 PM
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Well, as noted above, "They might look different, but they both taste good."
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  #44  
Old 12-04-2003, 05:51 AM
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Craft stores vs. art stores

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. A couple of things have set me off.
1) Talking to a "art" dealer in front of an office supply store. She was selling hand painted oil painting for $5-$30. I had to ask her were she got the paintings from, thinking how the hell can anyone afford to paint at such a price. She informed me that they were from a distributer, who gets them from China!!! I was shocked. The paintings were signed with english names even! Later discussions with a friend in the art business revealed that the paintings are not even the work of one person, rather they are done in an assembly line fashion.

2) A trip to a craft store (Michael's for those here in the States) in which everything there was made in China. Christmas decorations, little decorative objects etc... not one thing actually made locally.

I guess the difference between art and craft when both are done locally at a high level of skill doesn't matter to me. I KNOW the difference when it is people hot gluing together bits of chinese made crap according to a patteran, or looking at assembly line made paintings.

Craft is your tool to make good art. art is original.

PS I have a slight fear that "Made in China" has had a serious effect on the market for decorative items which artists have traditionally been able to sell to support themselves.
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  #45  
Old 12-04-2003, 09:43 PM
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art, craft and furnishing

Your remarks remind me of some experiences here in New Orleans from as many as ten years ago, which I had completely set aside. I visited a water-garden shop to see and buy some water irises, which are native to this area and very attractive in the landscape. I was a bit surprised to see bronze fountain sculptures, typically about 3 - 5 feet high, of both human and animal figures, priced in a range where they couldn’t be cast locally. I had known for a long time that some area Mexican-American artists or others from Central America had work cast there at quite low costs, but these mainly were from several countries in southeast Asia.

Most of these were “original” forms, not copies of famous works, but about the same time I visited a Royal Street gallery (N. O’s most famous shopping street) and spent some time in a gallery which had many copies of well-known pieces. Typically, these were Frederick Remington, Charles Russell, or other American Western artists, or pieces by Rodin, Carpeaux, and other ca. 1900 French artists. These also were cast in southeast Asia, or in India, I believe.

Costs there are very low by Western standards, and people seem to have no reservations about violating copyrights. In contrast, copies from “Michelangelo”, “Rodin”, and so on made and sold in the U. S. commonly are from newly-made models, but very poor in conception or execution. I don’t view any work in this vein as either art or craft. To me, it simply is “furnishing” or “decoration”, and presumably is valued by the purchaser as just that.
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Old 12-05-2003, 10:44 AM
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Fritchie

Art is provocation. All else is decoration.

Robert
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  #47  
Old 12-16-2003, 08:56 AM
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Re: Art contrasted with Craft

As a green horn here I see in this thread alot of fine points. The talk comes across as what I percieve as graduated "art speak". I prob. will seam a bit below the level here but it does seem that "craft" and "art" are now seperate due to fearfull security. If you take the David statue and its "artistic" grandor scale it down and place it in the local small town conty fair, A farmers wife may recognize it as the david, BUT! It will be more "crafty" in the fact that the woman is thinking of what possible function it could have in her home. Mmmmm. On the same note,.... The farmer looks at a bizzare configuration of familiar farm euipment parts, may raise an eyebrow, smile and say "how crafty". Take the piece to a gallery in NY and people stare in artistic wonder pondering its meaning.
Ill bet money,... the times I told someone I was an artist and there reply was "oh,.. my daughter does art" isn't about relating as artists. Its about security from an unknown. We all know the saying " the rich get richer and the poor get poorer". Art is for the rich and craft is for the poor. It is quite depressing to think that financial status sort of dictates who is artist and who is craftsman
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  #48  
Old 12-16-2003, 03:00 PM
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Re: Art contrasted with Craft

Quote:
Originally Posted by waveshop
Art is for the rich and craft is for the poor. It is quite depressing to think that financial status sort of dictates who is artist and who is craftsman
If your looking for a correlation between wealth and art, easy, be a working artist and remain poor... Indeed, as for public perception, you have only two choices; be hugely successful, or live in rags. Whereas craftsmen are probably seen as being middle income.

Interestingly, I imagine the country wife would keep her 'David' pride of place on the mantle, and the hip New Yorker their's in the bathroom as a peace of kitch.

What makes art, for me, is the experience of art.
Powerfully, it makes little difference what you have in your pockets at the time.
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  #49  
Old 12-16-2003, 09:50 PM
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Re: Art contrasted w/ Craft - waveshop's comments

As waveshop just said, many things are going on in this thread. The whole subject, and the words themselves, artist and crafts(wo)man, are complex. Araich has it exactly right in saying that real art is about communication and not cost; real artists say things of value to people who understand, and the message is free to all within range.

At the same time, most or all art requires physical means of expression, and resources are needed for it to be brought into being. The artist has to eat, be housed, clothed, and receive all the other necessities of life. That is, (s)he must participate in the marketplace to some extent.

Most artists, maybe 95% or more, can’t support themselves on their art alone; they generate needed resources in another manner and use anything available to produce art. Should these people be called artists or craftsmen? This thread seems mainly to say that the degree and novelty of communication should determine the answer. Artists produce more intensive and more novel ideas, and generally do so intentionally. Craftsmen certainly communicate, but the beauty of a job well done often is the goal and reward.

None of this has any bearing on the market for craft or art. Market forces transform communication into product and value it according to typical rules for product.
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Old 12-17-2003, 09:06 PM
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Re: Art contrasted with Craft

I agree with both of you, Ariach and Fritchie. Like you said Fritchie,... this thread as gone far into the stratosphere and around again to indeed confirm the complexity in the "craft" and "Art" as a discussion.

I apoligize at my elementary analogy at truely just wanting to say that I find that even in the USA, topography and setting seems to decide whether a piece of work is classified as "Art" or "Craft" (High end Inner City gallery show compared to small town 10'x10' both space at the local festival). And even now I am putting my foot in it once again. So I widen my "tag" here to percentile of all people in attendance and which word they would say at either venue, and should do as an old profesor would say " take a poll to back your claim".

I totally retract my statements on wealth and class. I in No way meant to blurb up to what came across as a segregated comment. And Ariach, you are so right about the David example.

But,.... I personally feel that A big financial investment into a inner City one man show is "Artsy" and the low investment both space at a fair is "crafty" no matter what kind of work is being shown within either. I can not ignore that part, Fritchie, due to the required "Art as a Career" course I took my jounior year in University. Professionalism seems to allow an Artist the ability to upgrade his rags, Yet playing by the rules and saying things of artistic value can get a yellow round spot into a major museum. It sounds like crafty-ness in that case and seems like such an un-natural duality. I hope I can come to understand it as you stated above.

And when it all comes down to the Craftsperson/Artist individual the line becomes very vague for me. I am Grinder by trade and consider it my craft. How I apply my technique I consider Art. Cutting,shaping,and sanding surfboards I was taught as "craft". Yet, I have heard it called an art form. My Yang seems to be the craftsman and my Yin the Artist. If the two are swirling smoothly together,.... Its all good! as far as Im concerned,... and I am content. And I am new. And I am learning,... being here.
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