Artist Profile – Kip Fulbeck

Victoria Namkung, MAVIN Magazine

July 10, 2001

What do you do when you’re already an accomplished teacher, performance artist and filmmaker? Kip FUlbeck, 35, decided to write his first novel.

Paper Bullets, which has just debuted (University of Washington Press), is a fictional autobiography about a multiracial Aisan-American male living in Southern California.

By the age of 26, Fulbeck was a professor of Art Studio at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 1991, his award-winning videos and thought-provoking performances have taken him all over the world.

His first critically acclaimed piece, “Banana Split,” deals with his Hapa identity, interracial dating and masculinity.  But the video that caused a real stir was 1994’s “Some Questions for 28 Kisses.” He starts by explaining, “To be angry, you have to have a reason.”

And people get angry. A series of love scenes between Asian women and white men are further complicated by several narratives and text.  The video questions not only film representation, but where Fulbeck, a product of a Chinese mother and Anglo father, fits into all of this.

His current gig, “I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Asking, But …” is a series of monologues that takes Fulbeck around the nation performing to packed audiences.

“It’s a mixtures of honesty and of me showing that I’m vulnerable, that I make mistakes.  The real key is that you talk about these unique things about yourself,” Fulbeck says of his performance.

Whether motivating a small workshop or a packed auditorium, Fulbeck’s energy stage presence keeps audiences on their toes.  His in-your-face approach has people buzzing long after he has left the building.

“They’re expecting a boring podium speaker, but when I get the emails afterward saying things like ‘I felt like I want to go and make art afterward’, that makes me feel really good,” he says.

A die-hard Lakers fan, Fulbeck still finds time to surf, hang with his black pug, Kita, and continue to make art. Whether playing guitar in his band Red Rooster Paste, or being a lifeguard during his summer hiatus, Kip Fulbeck is making an important mark on the mixed-race community and its future.