Mao Yanyang was born in Hunan, China in 1980. In 2002, he obtained his Bachelor's Degree of Fine Art from the Oil Painting Department of one of the most elite art academies in China, the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts. He was one of the very few top students selected to participate in the Sichuan Academy's Master's Degree Programme, which he completed in 2005.
In 2007, Mao Yanyang was selected as one of the top 25 emerging Chinese artists (out of over 1,000 applicants) at the Chinese Art Prize 2007. He was then selected as the Chinese Art Prize (CAP) 2008 Gold Prize winner by the Director of Art Cologne, Gerard Goodrow, the Curator of the Asian Art Museum, Jeff Kelley, and a prestigious panel of jurors. The Chinese Art Prize recognised Mao Yanyang as one of the top Chinese contemporary artist talents. In 2007, Mao's work was exhibited at the Zhu Qizhan and Duolun Museums in Shanghai andat the BS1 Contemporary Art Museum in Beijing. He has since exhibited in Europe, at Art Cologne, as well as in New York.