Huihan Liu was born in Guangzhou, China. He trained in China from 1972 to 1975 at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, also graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art College of San Francisco in 1989. According to him, his strongest influences during his studies in China were the 19th-century Western painters. He says Russian painter Ilya Repin’s paintings of peasants were representative of this influence by the group of artists known as the “Wanderers”.
Liu, who also has done paintings of Tibetan people and their lifestyles, says he fell in love with the buildings, colors, and landscapes of New Mexico after moving to America. He has been to the state three times, and it was there he went to an American Indian pow-wow with his wife that, in his words, “touched my heart.” “I loved the costumes and the kids, “ Huihan said. “I got my ideas (for my paintings) there. “Some of the same patterns he found in Tibetan life also drew him to paint American Indian scenes, he says.