Born in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of north-western China, Qin spent his youth herding sheep and received no formal education until the age of 12. In the 1980s, he left the region to study traditional painting and calligraphy at the Shandong University of Art and Design and in the mid-1990s moved to Berlin, where he was asked to curate a show to promote cultural exchange between the two countries and then teach at the Berlin University of the Arts. Qin later moved to the USA, living in New York and then Boston, where he did a residency at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Qin approaches his paintings as abstractions but uses different materials to explore ink painting and fuse western techniques with eastern traditions. Qin Feng mixes coffee with ink to create his unique surfaces. Traditionally ink painting is made on xuan or rice paper where Qin Feng throughout his career has used canvas, linen and a thick brown stock paper to create his ink paintings. His work has been exhibited at institutions around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Saatchi Gallery, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.