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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ZOMBIES/BLOOD/FIGHTS - INTERVIEW: Ohio Artist Anthony "Tank" Mansfield talks with ZBF

by Bowie Ibarra is proud to welcome the following guest to the blog.  Anthony "Tank" Mansfield is not only an outstanding artist, but for many years has been one of the most talented voices of flat-track roller derby in Ohio.  Without further ado, the Blog is proud to welcome 'Tank'.

Full Name: Anthony Mansfield
Code Name: Tank
Primary Specialty: Visual Artist
Secondary Specialty: Announcing - Tank, I heard it finally happened!  The World Cup of Flat Track Roller Derby!  What was the buzz surrounding the event?

Tank - People were definitely talking about it, both pro and con. Some loved the idea and others thought it was way ahead of its time. It was awesome watching the tryout process this past June in Philadelphia for Team USA. They in turn crushed everyone that they faced. Which makes me feel compelled to say “USA! USA!” but it wasn’t a lot of fun to watch what was essentially predetermined maulings.

ZBF - What were the nations that had representatives and who ended up winning?

T - The rankings of the participants at the end of the weekend was 13. Argentina, 12. Brazil, 11. Scotland, 10. Ireland, 9. Germany 8. New Zealand 7. France 6. Sweden 5. Finland 4. Australia 3. England 2. Canada 1. USA.

ZBF - How has your life in derby been recently?

T - I have decided to hang up my announcer’s microphone at the end of the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ home season in June of 2012. After doing this for so long at such a high level, the challenge to perform has waned for me. Plus, I am tired of the endless cycle of hotel, game, after party, sleep, wake up, and drive home/fly. I could stay, but I feel like I would just keep doing the same things over and over again.

One of my inspirations for walking away from the sport was actually you, Bowie. I watched you leave and go on to write books and live your dream of being an author and I said to myself, “If he can do it, why can’t I?” For some people roller derby is their life, but for me, my life is about creating things.

ZBF - Any predictions for nationals next season, or is it too early?

T - Too early. The landscape of the sport tends to shift every season. I think Gotham will continue to be a part of the upper tier for years to come due to their brains, talent, and athletic ability. They keep the penalties low and that is important in roller derby. Oly could win it all again, if they could just figure out that they can’t have people living in the box. If that team could cut their penalties in half, they would be unstoppable.

ZBF - When you’re not announcing or teaching, you are taking time to hone your art.  Tell us a little bit about your artistic works.

T - I have been creating art all my life. At age 4 my dad drew me an Ed Roth Rat Fink monster on the back of a place mat. It is the only thing I have ever seen him draw. He gave me his military sketchbook and I studied it and drew all over it. I wish I still had it. It got me addicted to art. From then on, I drew. I was an only child I spent a lot of time alone and I would just draw page after page of used copy paper from my grandfather’s business. I did art in school, high school, college, and beyond. I have never stopped making art.

"I Heard that Sound"
I have been showing art for the past decade, but I have gotten really serious about it in the past two years. I figured that if I put the same amount of work and time into art that I did into announcing, I could be extremely successful. Currently I am working on new drawings, paintings, prints, and design work for T-shirts and stickers. I also started an art collective called Ghost Empire (, which includes myself and some other high-caliber artists. We are all very competitive and that helps to drive each of us in our art making.

ZBF - Will your works be on display again as they were on several occasions in 2011?

T - Yes, so far I have three group shows lined up for 2012, two of which are Ghost Empire shows. The first, Die Cupid Die, is taking place at one of the coolest bars in Cincinnati, The Famous Neon’s Unplugged. Neon’s has free pool, bocce ball, and gigantic Jenga. It’s a really great place and we are going to be doing live art during the opening. Then in April we are doing a show at MOTR, another excellent bar in Cincinnati that is known for its live music. We are doing a show there called “The Art of War” where we are doing live art battles akin to freestyle battles in hip-hop. Other then that I will keep putting on shows and am focusing on doing some group shows outside of Ohio.

ZBF - A robot seems to be a constant theme in some of your works.  Tell us about that.

I am a really big Derek Hess fan ( and wanted to do something along the same lines of creating a figure that was recognizable but was androgynous changed to some extent piece to piece. I started to create these robots because they didn’t have a sex or race, but was still very human in some way.

"A Light in the Storm"
The robots are like people in the fact that you see hundreds, sometimes thousands of people in a day and yet you notice how many of them, one? Two? Five? They blur together and you forget them, very few stand out. And even though those people are not important to us, they are important to someone, they have a story, they have a soul. And that is what I try to do with the robots; I try to give each one of them that, a soul.

ZBF - Many artists have inspirations or influences.  What are some of yours that influence your work?

T - Hess, as I already mentioned. Business wise, Andy Warhol. I also get inspiration from Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Todd Schorr, Grime, Geof Darrow, Jason Goad, Jaimie Filer, and others. I like to look at a lot of different people and different mediums and styles.

ZBF - Here’s the standard question:  Zombies, Blood, or Fights?

T - Zombies: They are around us everyday.

Blood: I like it when it’s fake but not in real life. My mom is a nurse, so my natural reaction to seeing blood is offering to clean it and patch it.

Fights: I really like what the UFC is doing right now with their FOX deal. They are truly building a new sport that has great international reach and growth in the foreseeable future.

"Never Alone"
ZBF - What would be your weapon(s) of choice for the upcoming zombie apocalypse?

T - A carbine rifle with an extended clip and scope, Glock 22 with hollow point rounds, an axe handle for smashing heads, buck knife, steel toe boots, and a Mag Light for lighting dark corridors and more head smashing.

ZBF - As we begin walking the road to Wrestlemania, who takes it?  Rock or Cena?

T - Kevin Steen. Just kidding. I don’t watch nearly as much professional wrestling as I used too. WWE just does not interest me anymore: So many horrible segments, overexposure of the product, cookie cutter rookies coming out of developmental that all have the same trunks and bad tribal tattoos, hotshot booking with feuds that make no sense, and Michael Cole. Cole has truly helped to ruin wrestling for me with his constant berating of the product and how bad it is. I mean, announcer rule 101 is get the talent over, and instead he just craps all over it and buries everything.

I like what Ring of Honor is trying to do, same for PWG, but wrestling is dying in this country because of all the stupid decisions WWE makes and the direction things are going. The UFC is so much better on almost every level, and they have really started to build fights with preview shows on free TV built around hyping their main event, pay per view fights, and keeping the storylines very simple: “MMA Fighter A wants to beat up MMA Fighter B so that he can get a title fight with MMA Fighter C.” Brilliant, simple, and timeless.

I will watch Wrestlemania out of habit and I expect to be disappointed like last year. I have to figure that Rock does the JOB (for a ton of money) and Cena wins. Rock left the WWE, has been a major success, and you know that Vince hates that. Cena is never leaving because he doesn’t have any where near the acting talent/charisma of the Rock. Cena wins, Vince is “right”, Rock gets a ton of money and goes back to filming big box office movies, and nothing really changes.

ZBF - Where can people follow your artistic works?

ZBF - Thanks, Tank.  This interview meant a lot to me.

"Once upon a time..."

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Check out the interview I did with Jim "Kool-Aid" Jones a while back here.


Bowie Ibarra is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuester.  His latest book, "Big Cat", is a story of the power of friendship in the pursuit of a savage beast wrecking havoc across the south Texas countryside.  You can purchase the paperback or Kindle edition for as low as $3.99 here.

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