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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Kip Fulbeck, Warren '88, M.F.A. '92

Can you name an Asian American male newscaster? These are simple questions that Kip Fulbeck, ’88, M.F.A. ’92, has been asking audiences for over 20 years, but the answers he gets never change.

“People get stumped,” says the 45-year-old artist, filmmaker and slam poet, who frequently explores identity and mixed-race heritage. “And I think that’s pretty telling of where we are. This isn’t coincidence.”

In 2001, Fulbeck launched The Hapa Project, his quest to photograph over 1,200 Hapas—individuals with mixed Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry. The portraits were later published in his 2006 book, Part Asian, 100% Hapa, along with the subjects’ handwritten answers to the question “What are you?” These photos and statements were also featured in an exhibition of the same title at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and other museums across the U.S., attracting international praise. More books soon followed, along with numerous spoken-word gigs at universities.

Now an art professor at UC Santa Barbara, Fulbeck says he was deeply inspired and encouraged by the many mentors he found at UCSD. “It was [my counselor] who said, ‘Why don’t you try being an art major?’  Then she stamped my form, and said, ‘You’re an art major now.’ I know they’re just doing their jobs, but it was just so huge for me.”