Jam Art Factory: Patrick’s Street’s hidden Gem

Ian Curran spoke to Mark Haybyrne, who runs two shops with his brother John, about his passion for art, opening in the middle of the recession, and confusion over the name of the shop.

Jam Art Factory is a contemporary art gallery located on Patrick Street in Dublin’s Liberties and one of the Irish Times ‘top 50 shops’ of the past four years. John and Mark Haybyrne set up in Jam Art Factory in 2011 on Patrick Street, before opening a new branch in Temple Bar in Crown Alley.

Not far from the largest art college in Ireland, the National College of Art & Design (NCAD), along with the Irish Museum of Modern Art and other galleries such as Blank Space, Pallas Projects, and the Cross Gallery, Jam Art Factory’s Patrick Street branch has found itself a more than viable home in one of Dublin’s hubs for art and design. 

Co Owner Mark Haybyrne // Ian Curran

Walking into Jam Art Factory, you are greeted by a host of quirky and innovative designs, from prints featuring characters from popular culture, including Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman, to flower pots and jewellery, right up to humorous mugs exhibiting crude Irish slang.

Jam Art started out as a standard art gallery, but later changed to design and prints,now it includes ceramics, textiles, jewellery, and street art.

“Jam Art is very graphic, it would be a lot of prints, very colourful, often funny,” says owner Mark.

For someone who has experienced the hardships of getting into the art world in Dublin with success, he is wary of how tight the business is. 

“I’ve always had an interest in painting and art,” Mark says.

“I studied at DIT Mountjoy Square and when I finished I started to have my own exhibitions by myself. I wanted to get into the art world, but it wasn’t easy.

“It’s difficult to get into the art world in Dublin because the market is so small. Sadly, there isn’t a huge market for the high-end stuff. A lot of the street art tends to be more popular,” he says.

Within the tight art market, Jam Art has managed to achieve enough success to open a second stop.

Even the clever use of their names caused a bit of confusion, using their initials to create the name! “A lot of people in the area think that we are selling Jam!”  said Mark laughing.

Mark expresses what he felt helped make Jam art the growing success that it has become is because of their unique approach to the art.

“It is successful because we offer something to not only the Irish people, but also something different for tourists something that they’d be used to, in comparison to the stereotypical tourist-y stuff.”

Art offers the artist an opportunity to be flexible regardless of the economic climate and in the case of Jam was an area the economic downturn was seen as a positive rather than a hindrance.

“I think one of the main things that helped us to build the shops was starting out in the middle of the recession six years ago – it helped us to prepare for the worst right from the start. Also, working with so many different amazingly creative people all the time helps to keep our ideas coming and the shop changing.”

In terms of an expansion from Patrick Street and Crown Alley, the brothers have no current plans.

“That’s it for now [in terms of a new shop], we were thinking of Galway and Cork but two are tough enough for two of us to run,” says Mark.

“We have staff working for us now also which helps. We have around 50 local artists contributing to the shops.”

Jam Art Factory is located at 64/65 Patrick Street, Dublin 8 and 14 Crown Alley, Temple Bar. They are open seven days a week and also ship internationally from their website.

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