Rooted in a desire to showcase the abundant and talented artists emerging in Ireland today, Jam Art Factory first opened it’s doors on Patrick Street, in the heart of Dublin’s historic Liberties in 2011. Since then, this independent gallery and design shop has showcased smart, contemporary Irish art to a growing band of avid fans.
Their handpicked artists fill the gallery with fresh concepts in print, using both traditional and contemporary techniques. Jam Art has ceramics, textiles, jewelry and street art in strange and wonderful forms. Jam Art is always working with artists to create exciting new designs.
In 2013, brothers Mark and John opened a second location in the lively surrounds of Crown Alley in Temple Bar, and today, Jam Art Factory ships prints all over the world, providing a platform for independent artists to exhibit their work and solving all of your home and gift dilemmas! They have two websites: www.jamartfactory.com for pretty much everything they have and jamartprints.com solely for our prints.
Carrie: Hello Mark! When did you first realize the arts were important to your life?
I’ve always been interested in the arts. I have been drawing/painting since I was very young. I loved it in school and studied design courses in college. I then went on to have and be involved in a few exhibitions of my own work.
Carrie: How did the creation of Jam Art Factory come about?
Jam Art Factory was created when myself and John were looking for a change of direction in our jobs. The opportunity to apply for the shop on Patrick Street happened when our Aunt pulled out of opening a sewing and alterations business in the shop we’re in now. We thought it could be a great space to showcase Irish art and design to tourists and Irish alike as it’s on the main street between two big tourist attractions, Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Carrie: How do you select/find the artists you work with at the shop?
We go to end of year college shows, markets, trade fairs and sometimes, just find them online. Our name is getting out there so a lot of really talented designers are getting in touch with us. It’s hard to find space for them all!
Carrie: What has been the most fun part about working with artists?
At one stage we had 120 or so artists working with us. It’s great to work with them as they’re usually very interesting. It’s great to learn new things from each artist. They all bring something unique to our shop. I feel excited every time new pieces are brought into the store.
Carrie: What has been an obstacle you’ve faced in creating Jam Art Factory and how did you overcome it?
We started out right in the height of the recession so it’s been a huge learning curve to get the shop to where we are now. People weren’t buying art pieces for hundreds and thousands of euro anymore. We decided the way to go was to offer cheaper, wallet friendly, pieces of art from Irish based artists and designers.
Carrie: Do you have any fun/unique stories about running Jam Art Factory?
During the Christmas season last year, with just two weeks to go, our electricity in the shop totally went out. So on one of the busiest days of the year we had to close whilst they fixed the problem in the area. The next day we presumed it would be fixed, went in to open up and… no, still out.
So we decided to get a whole load of torches, candles, and camping lights for around the shop. People were shopping by candlelight. As they came in we offered them a torch to use. It was like they were some sort of adventurers exploring the hieroglyphs around the shop.
It was great fun in the end, think we might do it again sometime!
Carrie: What is one piece of advice you have for artists promoting themselves?
Make use of social media. It’s the best way to get your art out to a big audience.
If you’re hearing nothing back from gallery or art spaces about displaying your work, create your own online gallery and get people looking at your work.
Carrie: Many artists I’ve spoken to fear their art “isn’t offering enough value” to the world. How would you respond to this concern?
Do whatever feels right to you. Don’t do something that you don’t want to do. If you’re worrying about how the world will see your art, then you’re not doing art for the reason you should be creating. When you begin to worry about other people’s opinions, the art suffers.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
Right now, I’d say Photoshop is my resource of choice; I use it almost every day. I’m constantly using it for designing bits around the shop and for my own personal work. I hope to find more time to go back to the pencil and paintbrush but at the minute Photoshop is my main tool.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
People who do things differently inspire me. Having different ideas and looking at certain situations from a different angle to make things unique and influential is very inspiring to me.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Everyone has creativity in them. I believe that it just comes out in different ways. You need to be in the right space to get your creativity working.
To me, I am most creative when in my studio on my own listening to my favourite music.
Be Creatively Courageous: Why do YOU create? I want to know. Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
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