Two of PDX's most industrious and all-around likable visual artists, Mark Warren Jacques and Seth Neefus, are hitting the road. And they're taking their art, their guitars, and a collapsible gallery space with them.

A performance by Weaver inside the center, which is inside Holocene
  • A performance by Weaver inside the Free Life Center, which is inside Holocene

Last night at Holocene Jacques and Neefus unveiled their Free Life Center, a mobile art space that they will be taking on a West Coast tour this summer. The plan is to take the Center on the road and curate both planned and spontaneous art shows, music performances, and craft sessions on every stop of their journey. Last night they hosted their Portland kick-off party and loaded their mobile gallery into Holocene. They had an excellent turnout and it was an all-around great evening of local art and music.

To read what Jacques and Neefus had say about the project, read more after the jump.

MERCURY: What started it all as far as this Free Life Project goes? How did you guys originally conceive it?

SETH NEEFUS: I think there were multiple interactions that happened...

[The guys told this story in more detail earlier in the eve when they were playing music onstage. Basically they came up with the idea while talking and fantasizing about what kind of project would they do, if funding wasn't an issue.]

MARK WARREN JACQUES: Well, Seth and I have been friends for years now and a friend of ours, Ayni Raimondi, and I think we should give her more credit...

SN: Absolutely! She told us that if we had a project, she could get the funding for us and we thought: Wow man, what if we could do whatever we want, what would we do? And we thought, well what do we like to do with our lives as artists? Well, art (obviously), music as well, video, and crafting. And we thought, why don't we just tinker around with all our interests.

MWJ: And after that, after we decided what we wanted we thought, well if we're going to build it, let's take it on the road.

SN: Yeah, let's tour.

MWJ: Yeah, and so we then asked: How can we do that? And that turned into wanting to make our thing mobile. Let's make something that can take our artwork, and us, and make it all mobile. And then involve other people. Which, I think for us, has always been the goal.

So collaboration is a big part of it for you?

SN: Collaboration and interest maybe more so.

MWJ: Well we think of it now, especially now, as growth. Because growth is a natural byproduct of working with other people. 'Cause you are doing things you haven't done before and you're learning and growing.

SN: And people have come along and helped out. Obviously we're not electricians, but one of our roommates helped us put the lights in there [the Free Life Center]. And others have come to help us promote.

MWJ: And the music that is being playing right now...

SN: Yeah, all of our friends who are playing beautiful music for us... And everything has just been a real community effort.

Well, we wish you the best of luck on the journey, guys.

MWJ & SN: Thanks!

Below is Mark and Seth's promotional video for the center. If you are interested in learning more about the project, visit their website where you can donate and also watch videos of the guys building their mobile arts space.