Kipp Kobayashi is interested in the traces of human activity; the evidence, impressions and energies that we leave behind and that imprint layer upon layer over time like a patina, absorbing into the structures and systems of our physical world, transforming them into living entities of our collective thoughts, action and experiences. His work stems from his experiences growing up as an Asian American which has led to a lifelong interest in deconstructing our preconceived notions of who we are and what we are; breaking them down into the most basic elements of human and natural factors to better understand the unique sets of combinations and patterns that define a more nuanced interpretation of identity and cultural belonging.
With a background in Urban Design, he is focused on concepts of sociability and is in constant search of ways to activate our public spaces. His method involves extensive field observation and personal interaction, not only to identify the individual elements that create the identity of a place but also to understand the mechanics of how they relate and come together. Through this process, he seeks to reveal their specific ecosystems in order to create active solutions that have the potential to generate dialogue, promote continuous growth and create a shared sense of place.
Kobayashi spent the early part of his career working in the entertainment and design field, creating installations and environments for use in advertising, video and theme parks, Here he would gain valuable skills integrating a wide variety of media, such as metal, concrete, glass, lighting, animation and image projection as well as collaborating with a full range of design and construction professionals including architects, engineers, landscape architects, and specialty contractors. It was this experience which would later influence both his conceptual and practical approaches to art making.
Based in Los Angeles, he has been commissioned by both public and private agencies across the nation including the Getty Museum, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the Baltimore Red Line, Sound Transit and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. He received a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA from the University of Southern California. In addition, he has taught extensively at the Cal Poly School of Environmental Design and has served as vice-chairman of the Public Art Network Advisory Council which provides recommendations and insight to Americans for the Arts for the promotion, development and execution of public art services and resources nationwide.