Born in Wuxi, China in 1929, but raised in Shanghai, Walesse Ting is a self-taught painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet who began his life as an artist at a very young age, painting on sidewalks. He left China in 1949 and settled for a six year period in Paris beginning in 1952, where he lived as a poor struggling artist but became acquainted with artists Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and Pierre Alechinsky, members of the avant-garde group called COBRA.
Ting arrived in New York in 1958 at the height of the Abstract Expressionist period. He befriended the American artist, Sam Francis, and the movement had a profound influence on his work. Unlike in Paris, Ting could paint and sell his work. Bold dripping strokes featured in his paintings, which at that time were mainly poetic abstractions in the manner of the Paris-based Chinese artist, Zao Wouki.