Cao Yong was born in 1962, in a small town in Xinxian in the Henan Province, at the height of the great famine in China. Because they were suspected of disloyalty during the Cultural Revolution, Yong's family had to endure unimaginable hardships under the reign of Mao Zedong; hard labor, poverty and hunger. It was only through art that Yong found solace through those difficult times.
At the age of eleven, the gifted Yong's talent was recognized and he started studying under the noted artist Yu Ren from Beijing. When he turned seventeen, Yong took the competitive National Entrance Exam of Art Universities and despite his questionable past he was admitted to Henan University. He received his BFA in 1983 with the highest distinction.
After graduation, Yong became the youngest professor at the Tibet University. During his seven years in this majestic country, Yong immersed himself in the culture of this distinctive and reclusive region, producing an incredible array of works which were exhibited in his first one man show in Beijing in 1989. The show was a huge success which drew international attention, but which also alarmed the Chinese authorities who confiscated and burned some of his paintings. Cao was barely able to escape with his Japanese fiancée to Japan. In Japan, Cao had to start from scratch, first as a gravedigger and small painting commissions, but his reputation grew quickly and he became recognized as Japan's most honored muralist. He continued to paint in his "Tibet style" and his works were shown in Tokyo's most prestigious museums and galleries.
In 1994, in search of even greater challenges, inspiration and an international stage, Yong immigrated to the United States. Driving coast to coast, Yong was intrigued by the American landscape and it instilled in him a new found freedom. With a fresh burst of energy, his works changed in subject matter and tone; now he began painting city streets, small towns, and the American way of life. In 1997, after moving from New York to Los Angeles, Yong had finally found his place in the sun. He had finally risen "phoenix-like, from the ashes of his oppressive past" and reached an inner peace and artistic maturity. Simply stated, Yong says, "Painting is my life, and being an artist is my fate." In the past, painting was a way of venting his pain and personal agony, but now, bringing joy to others through his art brings him the greatest reward.
1989 One Man Show Beijing Artist Gallery Beijing, China
1990 One Man Show and Exhibit Shibuya Gallery Tokyo, Japan
1992 One Man Show Yunghan Art Gallery Taipei, Taiwan
1996-1997 Exhibited Art Expo 1996 New York, NY
1999 Exhibited Art21 Expo Las Vegas, NV
2000 Exhibited Décor Expo Atlanta, GA
2001-2003 Exhibited Art Expo New York, NY
1994-2004 One Man Shows Throughout the USA