The Loop HK 30 Under 30 2017
Fine artist and photographer; digital and social media manager
You’ve probably come across Shawn Prentis Griffin’s work over the years. The Missouri native is a prolific photographer who built his career photographing and developing content for major international brands. His interest in photography started young: “I have practiced art since my grandfather handed me his old camera when I was 14 years old,” he says.
A desire to move abroad brought Griffin to Hong Kong, where he attended SCAD Hong Kong five years ago. After graduating, he worked with advertising and PR agency Ogilvy and Mather. Two and a half years later, he began working in-house for luxury brands, shooting photos and creating social media content — “for everything from luxury fashion houses, to crazy sock [brands], to private island resorts.”
That’s not all: in the meantime, he also curated gallery shows for Google and The Economist; choreographed performance arts; and also working as a photographer for the Hong Kong 2022 Gay Games bid, which took place in Paris.
“I’m hoping that projects I’m working on will bring recognition to the already existing and incredibly unappreciated scene of young local artists.”
Griffin now works as a digital and social media manager and fine artist. “While I love working with brands and being a part of fast-paced and exciting campaigns that we see every day, my passion is with contributing to the fine art scene in Hong Kong and working with artists and projects that explore a variety of contemporary issues affecting the next generation,” Griffin explains.
So what does he hope to contribute to the city? “While it is important to keep a global mindset and to have many different cultural influences in a city, it is always a bit disheartening to walk through galleries and not see a single Hong Kong artist represented,” he says. “I’m hoping that projects I’m working on will bring recognition to the already existing and incredibly unappreciated scene of young local artists.”
His first job? “Working the drive-through counter of fast food restaurant Jack in the Box when I had just turned 16.”
His role models? “I love provocative, creative minds like David LaChapelle, [American drag performer] Sharron Needles and [American photographer] Nan Goldin. My grandfathers — a WWII veteran and a riverboat captain — were both amazing men who I always reference as my moral compass and the closest thing to ‘role models’ that I can think of.”