Yi Kai Studio

The Freedom to Create

Born in Changsha, China, in 1955, Yi Kai demonstrated a passion for art from a young age. Drafted into the People’s Army at 15 during the Cultural Revolution, he painted propaganda posters and portraits of deceased soldiers. After nine years of labor in the countryside, he entered the prestigious Art Institute of the Army in Beijing, ranking as the top applicant. Trained in traditional Chinese painting, Yi Kai later embraced Western influences, particularly American culture, which became a hallmark of his work. He earned his MFA from the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing but fled to the United States following the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Settling in Minneapolis and later Southern California, Yi Kai developed a unique artistic style blending Chinese calligraphy and American abstract expressionism. His work, celebrated globally, reflects his experiences across different cultures and social systems, emphasizing creativity and freedom of expression.

Yi Kai’s art is collected by many famous and successful individuals, museums, galleries, universities, corporations, luxury hotels all over the globe. His collectors include the Rockefeller family, Tung Chee-hwa’s family, and many other executives, politicians, doctors, professors, entrepreneurs/founders and business/community leaders.