The son of a famous architect, He Deguang was born in January 1945 in Kunming, Yunnan. As a child, He Deguang was attracted to his father's architectural books and developed a liking for art. By grade school, he had already acquired a reputation as a painter.
Attended the high school of the Yunnan Art Institute. Graduated in 1964.
At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1965, worked in a printing workshop producing Mao portraits, cartoons, and propaganda posters.
Designed sets and costumes for the opera company of the armed forces in Kunming. Responsible for designing sets and costumes for two large-scale operas and for numerous stage plays.
Illustrated books and participated in provincial fine art exhibits as well as a national exhibit of set designers.
Joining the Shen She artists group founded by Jiang Tiefeng and Ting Shaokuang, exhibited in the first Shen She art show.
Exhibited works in Hong Kong as part of the Heavy Color Movement.
Won second prize in a national book illustration contest in Beijing.
Studied at the Cultural Fine Art Academy in Beijing, specializing in mural painting. Toured and researched murals in Duanhuang caves. His graduation work, "Remote Ruli Jiang," was selected as a part of the national art exhibition in celebration of the 35th anniversary of PRC in Beijing.
Served as resident artist of the Yunnan People's Art Palace in Kunming, continuing his heavy color experiments. Made numerous trips to the mountainous regions to study and to collect tribal artifacts and art. This period of intense study and collecting culminated in the first Yunnan Ethnic Minority Art and Artifacts Exhibition in Beijing, which won critical acclaim.
Like many other contemporary Chinese artists, He Deguang has faced major obstacles in pursuit of his artistic career. Despite ideological oppression and political intolerance toward artists, he not only survived the turmoil of the proletarian dictatorship, but flourished and found artistic inspiration and expression in his native land.