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How Romanticization of Schizophrenia Tainted My Art Project

Have you ever felt like a fraud? All throughout my work with my art project, Curious Markings, I’ve felt like a big ‘ol snake oil salesman. I felt this way because I listened to other peoples’ opinions about what they think it is or what it should be rather than taking some sorely needed time by myself to ask myself what Curious Markings is for me, what it should be to me.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve done some pretty weird things with Curious Markings. I’ve done things that were fun, pointless, cringey, and everything in between. At times, I think I was attempting to sell snake oil, thinking that as long as I acknowledge that it’s snake oil that makes it okay because at the end of the day, it’s just art. And that’s what I was really trying to do. Sell art with a message.

It took me a long time to figure out that message, even though it was fairly obvious to probably everyone. I failed to see it clearly because my ego made me too easily get caught up in people’s romanticization of schizophrenia. That what I’m seeing is from the divine and that I have insights that can’t even be comprehended. Maybe that’s true, but I haven’t found evidence of it.

Being the scientist that I am, about 10 months ago, I decided to put these romanticizations to the test. I sent out over 200 “divination” to everyone that signed up to Curious Markings. Based on the feedback, my divination was mostly a crock of shit. Most of the people who found something meaningful were usually stretching their interpretation. The effectiveness of my spells depended largely on the user’s creative thinking and their ability to apply that to their confirmation bias. Admittedly, I think that’s sort of magical in and of itself. But there are so many other things that exist to fill that need (Tarot cards, I Ching, etc.) and that’s not the world I want to be in.

So, I ventured to figure out what I was selling. Like any entrepreneur, an artist needs a value proposition. And, as I said, my value proposition is so obvious. I am making mental illness visible. This is something I’ve been doing since I was diagnosed 16 years ago. It’s something that I will continue to do. Given the skills I have in software, social media, marketing, writing, and art โ€” why not use my powers for good? Make mental illness visible on a massive scale.

At the end of the day, that’s all I was trying to do. Make mental illness more visible. With this new insight, I’m going to start putting more effort into this. If that excites you, I invite you to join the others supporting me in continuing spreading this message through artistic expression. I hope to one day make this my full-time job.

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Life is an ongoing series of lessons. Because I live with schizophrenia, my hope is that the lessons I learn and the solutions that come from those lessons will help you and anyone else dealing with schizophrenia or mental illness/mental health issues.

I will only send updates that I am completely convinced will be valuable to you. I respect your time by respecting my time. I donโ€™t send frivolous bullshit.

AGHKGH! F@&# OFF POPUP!

Sorry, sorry! I just thought since you've been on this site for longer than average, you might hear me out?

Why do you do this to me, Ian...

Okay, okay, I'll be quick! I have a newsletter to keep you up-to-date on my content and projects. If my stuff tickles your pickle, help us both out by subscribing!

Also, I don't do anything shady or aggressive with your email address. I'll only send you the good stuff and won't share your email with any person/provider that isn't working for me to serve you better.

'Serve me better.' What deliciously vague jargon. Is this where you pretend to be me and you make me respond with a contrived form of consent because you're bold enough to assume this cute little chat interface gimmick is enough to actually get me to sign up?

Ummm... uhhh... ahh... Sign up and get exclusive discounts and early access!!!! Come ooooon! Induced scarcity is fun!


...alright, well, I'll leave it up to you.

Ian's Creations

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The social app for Minecrafters. Share creations, follow friends, set up trades, & live chat.

Art & NFTs

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Serving dad jokes over automated voice and meme text messages via SMS completely toll-free!

Objektiv Digital

Making websites for successful local businesses. The most effective one-man-agency you'll likely ever find.

Like this nav? It does what every marketing-oriented web designer will tell you not to do: shove as many things in your face as I can!