Z. Z. Wei was born in 1957 in Beijing, China. He started painting during the years of Culture Revolution. Art was his sanctuary from all the turmoil in his childhood and soon became his lifelong pursuit. He graduated from The Central Institute of Arts and Design (now The Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University) in 1984. By the age of 30, he had two exhibitions at China National Museum of Fine Arts.
In 1989, Z.Z. was invited by the Washington State Centennial Commission to participate in the Pacific Rim Cultural Connection Project and to be a resident artist at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, Washington. This led to another residency in 1991 at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. The following year, he was honored with the Western States Arts Federation (WEST AF)/NEA Regional Fellowship for Visual Artists. Then, in 1993, Z.Z. had an exhibit at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA.