Born in Xiangtan, Hunan, Mao Yan graduated from the School of Oil Painting at the Central Art Academy in 1991. Currently residing in Nanjing where he teaches at the Art Department of the Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts and is a director of the Chinese Oil Painting Society. Mao Yan's work has always drawn attention with his conceptual portraits. The extreme focus on technique in his artwork comes from the artist's sensitivity and forms the foundation of the painter's ability to capture the essence of the subject. The very detailed paintings show a fusion of form and essence, approaching the ultimate ideal of portrait art. Mao Yan' s mastery of his discipline and mature painting style emerged in the mid-1990's, representing a new level of achievement in China's Realism school. He has won awards such as the Oil Painting Award at the 2nd China Oil Paintings Exhibition and Outstanding Artwork Award at the 2nd China Fine Art Expo.