Yu Ji was born in Beijing and studied at the city’s Central Academy of Fine Arts from 1977 to 1981. In 1983 he moved to the USA to continue his studies at the State University of New York, New Paltz, gaining an M.A. in painting and drawing in 1986, and printmaking in 1989. Ji taught for several years at Southern Utah University, from 1989 to 1994, and Eastern Illinois University, from 1994 to 1999. He is currently Professor of Arts at California State University. As an artist he explores contemporary urban life in a distinctly figurative manner. Ji’s sketchbooks play a pivotal role in his work, with the artist using them as a means to chronicle his environment before developing his sketches and notes into paintings.