Born in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of northwestern China, Qin Feng received formal training in oil painting, ink painting, and calligraphy at the Shandong Art Institute and in the 1980s experimented with Western avant-garde media. Once he moved abroad, however, Qin Feng, like other contemporary expatriate artists from China, chose to return to the materials of calligraphy and traditional ink painting, merging Chinese techniques and forms with gestures from Western expressionism. His work of the last decade often explores the theme of the "origins" of civilization and incorporates autobiographical reflections, including his childhood memories of watching the physical torture and suffering of his parents during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76).