My ART | Artists/Gallerists: Joe Dowling & Ken Griffen

Artists/Gallerists: Joe Dowling & Ken Griffen

Artists/Gallerists: Joe Dowling & Ken Griffen

What do you do?

Ken –  Currently I am a misplaced Brooklyn based painter hiding out here in paradise. This year has been a ride as I had two shows canceled in New York because of the catastrophe that happened in March. I have had a lot of time to reset and align as an artist and recently I have been interested in the merging of graphic aesthetics with my more traditional painting practice. Oh and now I’m a gallerist apparently.

Joe – It’s a bit of a scatter shot existence over here. I have my art practice which is mainly photography, otherwise known as Plan A, where I work on longer projects. My recent work is based around suburban Auckland, and my previous work was based in Kashmir and the Middle East where I shot photos of protest and conflict. Ken and I are also working on a collaborative drawing project which was shown during our opening show with 10 other artists. Oh and I make backgammon boards.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

Ken – I see myself as a bike messenger, delivering packages and cycling around the city.
Joe – I would like to be a furniture maker with a workshop in the bush.

Why did you open your gallery?

Joe – We had been looking out for a gallery-type space for a little bit, so had an eye on empty spaces around town. We spotted 5he1l made them an offer and it all happened really quickly. We’ve been figuring a lot out as we go, but we love the idea that we can show what we want in a relatively neutral space, and not have to make overtly commercial decisions at this stage. It will be really cool to see how 5he1l develops.

Who is your ideal studio buddy?

Ken — Joe and I are a good team, we have done loads of projects together. Including a tattoo project where Joe has 30+ drawings on him which I did. He is my buddy, I couldn’t imagine anyone better.

Joe — Yeah, same here — we currently share a garage which is a wood workshop and painting studio — and it’s always a fun time in there. We do love to laugh. Even when the paintings get covered in dust.

What are you reading?

Joe – Grand Union, short stories by Zadie Smith. Zadie Smith is really really good, I highly recommend all of her writing.

Ken – The Stranger by Albert Camus.

What’s next?

Joe – Well, we have my show closing on Nov 1st, so check it out this weekend if you’re in Tāmaki Makaurau — then we are installing Ken’s solo show opening on the 12th of November. For more information visit

October, 2020