I had an opportunity to sit down with Anthony "Tank" Mansfield the other night at Neon's and talk music, movies and art. Mostly art, specifically Ghost Empire Collective's upcoming show at Neon's on February 11th, Die Cupid Die!
Tank began by telling me that Ghost Empire Collective came about as a way to take art from an individual to a social activity. All the artists: Anthony "Tank" Mansfield, Jaimie Filer, Kurt Einhaus, Mike Maydak, Rob Meyer and Snotty RLE have been somewhat successful but kind of under the radar. This was a way to work together to change how art is seen and where it’s seen. I had never thought about it before Tank brought it up, musicians are always working together and are relentless self-promoters. Why can't visual artists/illustrators do those things too?
The seeds for Ghost Empire Collective were planted back when Tank became a fan of a similar group in San Francisco called Upper Playground. And also in Chicago, he chanced upon the location for another collective oh no! doom. After getting in touch with oh no! doom, a process that took a month or so, Tank submitted some of his work to their next show. That was when he realized there were distinct advantages to a collective. One upside, immediate feedback. Tank added "the artists (in Ghost Empire Collective) are all good but also competitive so we're pushing each other all the time. You always want to be the guy who everyone's talking about when they leave the show."
Why Die Cupid Die!? Obviously because of Valentine’s Day and everyone's love/hate relationship with it. Each artists will interpret the holiday in their own way good or bad. You just know, given the free range of expression, the hate side of Valentine’s Day will probably dominate the show. But a bar? Does that seem an odd place for an art show? Not so says Tank, there is a huge barrier to getting someone inside a gallery. "I'm an artist and sometimes I don't feel comfortable in them" confesses Tank. Ghost Empire Collective is going to feature art that is relatable to the average person in a place they're relaxed and open to enjoying it. Tank also wanted to stress that where an art show takes place, whether a gallery or a bar doesn’t change the importance of what the artist is trying to say. The intimacy of the location can enhance the experience. Having a drink and hanging around in a familiar place will put people at ease and allow them to maybe enjoy the art on another level with no pressure or expectations to appear art smart.
What I'm looking forward to is the live pieces that the artist will be creating, and sort of like musical chairs, when the music stops they'll move to the next canvas and expand on what the previous artist composed. I've seen collaborations like this before and love the tension and interaction between the differing media and styles. This should provide some really cool artwork. BTW, the musical chairs and music stopping was strictly for dramatic effect, I don't really know how they are coordinating that.
There will be t-shirts, posters, prints, original art and stickers for sale at very reasonable prices. And as an added bonus Ghost Empire Collective artists will be creating unique Valentine Day cards for $5. A POS Hallmark Card at Walgreen's will set you back $4.99 and most likely to get tossed the next day. Instead buy your special someone a unique card that will get stuck to the fridge or framed on the wall for ages.
So there you go, get to Neon's Saturday, February 11, 2012. The show runs 8:00pm until 2:00am