Born in Guangzhou, China, Kelvin Lei’s passion for art and drawing began at a young age. Studying at the renowned Guangzhou Academy of Fine arts, he trained under Yang Zhi Guang, an important figure in Chinese art, as well as Ou Yang, a prestigious oil painter. From their teachings, Kelvin learned the foundation and techniques of portraiture, figure drawing, and oil painting.
After his studies, Kelvin moved to Hong Kong and started his art career in the late 1970s. His early work consisted of mostly portraitures and figure paintings. Inspired by the Western atmosphere in British-ruled Hong Kong, Kelvin’s work was imbued with a classical European style. Later, galleries from Norway, the Netherlands, and England represented Kelvin, and his work was shown in Taiwan, Singapore, and throughout Europe. Critical response was overwhelmingly positive, and many of his paintings were purchased for private collection.
At the end of the 1990s, Kelvin moved to the United States. Influenced by the American landscapes and art, his work was accepted by galleries and local art patrons.