For more information on Free Life Center or the events happening this weekend, visit galleryhijinks.com.As the week comes to an end, the Free Life Center gears up for a fun filled weekend of art, music and raging good times at Gallery Hijinks. Since May, Mark Warren Jacques and Seth Neefus have been touring the west coast with their traveling art exhibit, inspiring health, happiness and the creative life. We got to talking with these two artists, check out what they have to say. - Jillian
Most of the people who are reading this interview probably have no idea about The Free Life Center; how do you usually describe it?
Mark Warren Jacques- It seems easiest to describe the project as a movable gallery space, built of reclaimed materials, in a modular fashion. At its full size the structure is a pretty large free standing building (10 ft wide x 16 ft long x 10ft tall), complete with lighting, a tin roof and a wood floor. Since we designed the building to come apart in sections, we have the option to vary the size of the installation to fit the environment it is housed within. We've also built the structure in manageable pieces to allow us to travel, which is exactly what we've been doing this summer, an art tour. At each location along the journey we've been setting up the structure and filling it with our artworks, video works, process documentation, interactive installation elements, music, good vibes. Along with our own artworks we've asked members of each local community to join in. We've had a ton of friends play music, dance, draw, jam, sleep, eat, and hang with us in and around the installation... So yeah, installation, art, video, music, art tour, curating guest performance, performing, documentation, its all a part of this big project.
What is does the “free life” really mean?
Seth Neefus - It is in the mind, just follow whatever speaks to you inside, and see where it takes you.
Are you really living the free life?
sn + mwj - yes
What do you hope to accomplish with the free life center during the tour and even after?
sn-To share an experience of art, music and good people, the Free Life Center is not a permanent place or thing, it is a chance to explore what we have created and are willing to share with everyone we meet. We hope to inspire artists and communities to take a journey and experience what they enjoy to the fullest. Whether they hit the road or take on a new perspective, if we inspire, we are stoked.
mwj- Honestly I feel like we have already accomplished the initial goals of actually doing it, building it, making art, working together, working with others, and taking it on tour. People’s reactions have been amazing, inspired and in turn inspiring.
How long does it take for you to build up the structure it’s self and install the show inside?
sn - The installation is built so that we can set it up and take it down in a matter of hours. Typically its taken us 3 - 5 hours for set up and a bit less for takedown.
mwj - we're getting pretty buff this summer, that was high on the list of priorities for the project too.
How much of the tour and your performances are influenced by the time spent living in Portland, OR?
mwj - all of life is inspiration in one way or another.
What’s your favorite part of PDX?
sn - There is room to grow.
mwj - Good people, cheap beer, cheap rent, the beautiful Sandy River, Mt. Hood, it’s not SF.
What’s your favorite part of SF?
mwj - Sunshine, the grime, crazy people, tons of wild energy, its not Portland
sn - This moment.
When are you the most productive?
sn - In the woods.
mwj - All the time. Specifically after or during coffee, which is pretty much all the time.
Not only is the FLC an artistic venture, it involves many types of musical performances. What kind of music have you been listening to on the road?
mwj - We are practicing zen driving methods, ha.
sn - That is not entirely true, but I do like miller high life in a 40oz.
Have you run into any particularly strange or comical experiences while on your epic road trip thus far?
mwj - When we where in Vancouver B.C. we stayed up all night with some friends and ended up on a beach in the downtown area watching the sun rise and sparkle on the water. This super old Chinese lady somehow crept up on us wearing a red jogging suit and white plastic bags on her feet. She was walking so slow, one foot in front of the other in the sand, that no one really heard her coming. As she passed no more than five feet in front of us, everyone took notice and a strange and beautiful silence fell over us, the beach, and the morning city air. In slow motion, one foot in front of the other, the old lady performed her patient dance right on past us, the glittering water acting as her silver stage curtain. Strange, comical, beautiful, like life is. "Good morning" she finally said as she crept toward her day.
If you were limited to 5 tools of the trade in your line up, which would they be and why?
sn - Graphite pencil, paint brush, watercolors, color pencils, pencil sharpener. They are fun.
mwj - Paint, a tiny brush, a good woman, some beer, and nice weather.
If you were to die and be reborn as another animal, what would it be?
sn - a deer
mwj - seth
The opening reception for the Free life Center is on Friday the 23rd of July from 7-10 pm, as well as musical performances the night after on Saturday the 24th, from 6-9pm. Check out this sweet time lapse of the Free Life Center's erection as well as postcards for the Free Life Center and photography exhibit happening in the back.