Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | photography
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Frank Jang at the Chinatown Photographic Society in San Francisco. As a visitor walks down the steps to the gallery space, he’s greeted by the buzz of people discussing photography. Bright lighting illuminates dozens of great photographs mounted, framed and arranged on the walls. Photographers are looking through their portfolios of work, giving each other advice. In a separate...

I caught Corky Lee preparing to shoot photos of singer-songwriter Cynthia Lin at a 2006 Asian festival in New York City (picture #22) We're thrilled to announce the next interview of visualizAsian.com's Asian American Empowerment Series, a free one-hour conversation with award-winning photojournalist Corky Lee, who has captured Asian America through his lenses for over three decades! Register now for the call, which will be Tuesday April 20 at 6 pm PT -- this one's going to be extra-special!

In addition to the conversation that you can listen to as usual, via phone or webcast, we'll be showing Corky's work in a slideshow, and you can vote on your 10 favorite images from the 30 shown here, and Corky will share the stories behind the Top 10 during our talk!

Asian Americans are finally showing up in American pop culture at large, but Asian American fine artists are still mostly invisible. Only a few have had notable -- or rather, noted -- careers in the art world. When I was an art student, I didn't think much of my heritage. You might say it was my "Banana Period." As an artist, I didn't appreciate my ethnicity, even when I was included in a group show of Japanese artists and my painting was bought by a famous playwright (keep reading below). I simply didn't identify myself as an Asian American artist. I was simply an artist, and the art I made was informed by my 8th grade art teacher, Julie Maiolo, my high school art teacher, Jay Filson, and all my professors (especially color theorist Mary Buckley), as well as the art history teachers and books I soaked up. Which meant my awareness of art was all Euro-centric. In all of that art history and theory, what I knew of Asia in art was that calligraphy was beautiful, ink painting was hard but similar in process to watercolor, and that Japanese woodblocks inspired the French Impressionists that I loved so much. So it's understandable that I assumed any artist with an Asian name was Asian, not Asian American. For instance, for years I thought the sculptor Isamu Noguchi was Japanese, even though he was born in Los Angeles. But now, the hidden history of Asian American artists is finally getting a jump start, thanks to two projects. First is the first extensive exhibition of Asian American artists, "Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900–1970," curated by the de Young Museum, part of the San Francisco Fine Art Museum (there's a companion book available). The exhibit opened in October, and runs through late January. Then the work moves to the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City near New York. Second is the publication of "Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970," by Stanford University Press.

I know some of my friends think of me as a gadget freak, but I only get crazed about a new toy every once in a while. iPods, for instance. Or digital cameras before that. Walkmans (Walkmen?) in the '80s. Here's my newest gadget recommendation: We recently bought two Flip video cameras and we're having a blast with them. I had checked out the Flip last year when they were first introduced -- Costco sold them for a few weeks and then stopped carrying them. Several months ago, our pal Bill Imada, founder of the IW Group media and advertising firm, held up a Flip after giving a presentation to the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals, and told us we have to get one. At Denver's Cherry Blossom Festival in June, my brother Glenn Asakawa, a former photographer at The Denver Post now working for the University of Colorado, held up his Flip, and I was reminded that I wanted to get one.