Chattin’ with Ian


Thomas Streeter

Ian holds his linoleum prints

Basement Medicine sat down with Studio Arts major Ian Bowen. Ian is a fan of Jimi Hendrix and is not a fan of Donald Trump. Ian is originally from Long Island, New York, but now lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with plans to move to Johnson, Vermont.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by many things and it is hard for me to choose something to define the way I am inspired and look for inspiration. However, I can say that there are many things that are important to me and things that hold strong significance in my life, but it is hard to say exactly what it would be that would inspire me at any particular moment. It could be social issues, it could be violence, drugs, sobriety. Anything can inspire me, it just has to be super important; and math, I love art and math together.

What is your favorite piece of clothing you own?
My favorite piece of clothing is probably a pair of purple corduroy gym shorts that I found in a box in my dormitory. It was for free and it is the most comfortable thing in the world. I also have a pair of socks that say Tapatio Hot Sauce on them, so I go back and forth between the two.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I can only pick human. I have thought about animals I wanted to be before and I thought that those lives were terrible compared to the life I live now. I do not think I would want to be any other animal.”

If money wasn’t an object, what would you buy?
More food and a better kitchen.

What would you do for a Klondike Bar?
I would buy one and that is it. I would not do anything else.

What’s your superpower?
I can read people’s minds, but I have to really focus and I have to really concentrate, maybe they are synonyms. I cannot do it automatically, so people’s thoughts do not appear in my head. I also have a personality disorder, so it allows me to think that I have a perception of reality that can sometimes be delusional and border on psychotic, so I have thoughts and beliefs that I have superpowers, and sometimes it can cause me great stress but sometimes, it makes me feel unique. I would not say that I have that superpower now that I have been through therapy, if that makes sense. Sometimes I can be seen as a delusional person, so I should not necessarily be taken seriously if I say I have a superpower. You can say that.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what movie/album/books would you bring?
“Django Unchained” is the movie I would bring. I would probably bring “The Book of Mormon” so I could look at the pictures, and the self-titled “Operation Ivy” album, which is my favorite punk band.

You are a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I would be a clear wax crayon that works but has no pigment, because I do not want to attract attention even though you can still use the crayon somehow.

Who would you want to be for a day?
I would want to be no one at all. I have no interest in living anyone else’s life except mine, but I would like to know what it is like to be Nelson Mandela.

If you could go back in time, what time period would you go to?
I would go to the year I was born so I can watch myself being born, but I do not see the logistics of that happening with me in the hospital room, so I do not really think I have a legit answer.

What would your last meal be?
My last meal would be a Klondike Bar covered in hot sauce.

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or ten duck-sized horses?
Neither. I do not want to deal with that.

What’s your legacy?
My legacy is what I make of it. I do not know what my legacy is. I just think that I will find out when I get there, if legacy is a timeline, I do not know. I really do not know how to answer that.

If you were a superhero, what would your weapon of choice be?
My weapon of choice would be The Doctor Octopus thing with the robotic tentacles, even though that is a villain. I do not know how to describe that.

Sombrero or Fedora?

What is the best/worst advice you have ever received?
The worst advice I had ever received was, do not be anxious, or stop being anxious. That would be the worst advice because I do not have a real ability to control my anxiety, and it does not help to suppress it. The best advice I ever heard was, keep being anxious. That would be the best advice because I have been told through therapy that I should learn to accept and hold onto my anxiety so that I can deal with it better as a healthy coping mechanism, because you cannot get rid of anxiety, you can only work on it.

If you could have dinner with any five people living or dead, who would they be and why? And it could be anyone that you admire, or a musician, or a family member, or person.
One of them is obviously Jimi Hendrix. Should I say why?

Yes please.
Jimi Hendrix because he is my favorite guitar player and one of my favorite songwriters in general. He inspires me in a lot of ways.

Could you be more specific?
He is really creative and unique and he has a very beautiful mind. Everything I learn about him I want to learn more. Even though I cannot say I know that many things, I know enough to be interested and want to have dinner with him. My Grandpa. He passed away. He is very cool. I did not get to know him very well either, so I would like to have dinner with him too. I would like to know what he would be like if he was not demented, but I have to accept that that was a part of who he was at a time. I would like to have dinner with Donald Trump. No joke.

I would like to know what he is like when he is eating. I would like to know what he is like in person and the things he has to say, and what his breath smells like, because I think that he eats very unhealthfully. So, I would also like to know what he is going to eat. I am also interested in having conversations with him and I can avoid being offended by anything anyone says, so I am ok with having dinner with him; even though I do not respect him. I do not know, just putting that in there.

That is a perfectly legitimate answer.
Anyone else I am about to name I do not respect, but I would like to have dinner with them. DJ Khaled would be one of them because he appears to be very misogynistic and unintelligent and I would like to know more about what he says. Whenever I see an interview with him, they do not seem to go in that much depth about his stupidity and ignorance, they just go into his narcissism and fuel that and enable it…I would like to give him criticism…because I think that he deserves to hear a little bit from someone like me because I do not think that I would offer any different criticism, I just would like to have him hear the things that I think.

Wow, very interesting.
The last person I would like to have dinner with is Eric Clapton, because I want him to be jealous as I praise Jimi Hendrix. Even though he is also good, I just want to see how angry he gets when I talk about how good Jimi Hendrix is. I remember there was one time he and the band that he was playing with invited Jimi Hendrix and they saw how good he was, but Eric Clapton had no idea, so he angrily ran offstage, and one of the band members saw him smoking a cigarette one time and he was shaking in anger and he goes like, “you did not tell me he was that good!” so he was envious of him.

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
“I love you.”

And there is a second part to this question, why did that resonate so strongly?
Because it was my mama, and her love is not the same as others. Her love is unconditional, but in a different way. I do not believe in unconditional love. I would say it is unconditional in that she does not believe that I can take her love away, so she loves me so much that she disagrees with that concept. That is not even denial, we have had that discussion before, and I was like, “I would never hurt you because you love me so much.” A mother’s love is probably the best kind of love where they can see through pain and suffering to love their child.

If you could wave a magic wand and have one major problem facing humanity solved what would that be?
I am going to say that I would not do that. I would say that I would not wave a magic wand. If you gave me that I would choose not to, because when you take one problem away, or you take any problems away, it almost makes others seem worse and people will find things to suffer from. I also think that problems, even the most serious and traumatizing ones, in some ways can make people into stronger more capable people. I might also have conflicting feelings because I think rape is one that I would swing the wand for. But other than that, I do not think I would touch that wand. It is just, that comes to mind as a very serious topic.
I would not grab a thing that allows for me to make powerful decisions where I might not be in a place to hold such responsibility. I do not think that I am the kind of person who needs that or wants that, and I would not necessarily know what to do. The fact that I gave you an answer, meaning that I would take away the problem of sexual abuse and assault throughout the world just means that that is something that I care deeply about, but I do not believe in wishing away the world’s problems.

What’s your worst quality?
My worst quality is that I do not have much motivation. In fact, I have very little motivation, but it might have something to do with mental illness. I am a very unmotivated person. Sometimes I just give up, but I am working past that.
I think that I do not have much ability to motivate myself. Without going into too much personal detail, I think that is just something that I have always struggled with. I accept people’s help, and I ask for people’s help, and I ask for motivation and I advocate for myself all the time but motivating myself and having that aspect to my character, it is just an absence, just a hole that I am filling.”

What do you think is your best quality?
“Honesty. I am very, very honest.”