Wanxin Zhang was born and educated in China. He graduated from the prestigious LuXun Academy of Fine Art in Sculpture in 1985. In 1992, after Zhang established his art career as a sculptor in China, he relocated to San Francisco with his family and received his Masters in Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University. Zhang had been on the faculty of the Academy of Art University, Department of Art Practice at University of California, Berkeley and Califorina College of The Art in Oakland. Zhang currently is a visiting faculty at San Francisco Art Institute.
Zhang's sculptures represent a marriage between historical references and a contemporary cultural context; they carry messages of social and political commentary. His work is deeply influenced by the Bay Area figurative movement and artists such at Peter Voulkos and Stephen De Staebler. As a studio sculptor and educator, Zhang was the first place recipient of the Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant in 2006 and the Joan Mitchell Grant in 2004. His sculptures have been shown in San Francisco, Santa Fe, Miami, Seattle, Palm Desert and New York City. In 2007, his pieces were part of the 22nd UBC Sculpture Biennial in Japan; in 2008, his sculpture was selected by the Taipei Ceramics Biennial in Taiwan; and in 2013, he was part of the Da Tong's 2nd International Sculpture Biennial in China. Zhang had his first solo art museum show at the University of Wyoming Art Museum in 2006, with solo museum exhibitions following at the Arizona State University Art Museum, Boise Art Museum in Idaho, Fresno Art Museum in California, The Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art in Michigan, Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington, and Holter Museum of Art in Montana. His works have been selected to be included in Confrontational Ceramics by Judith Schwartz, and can be found in major art magazines such as "Art News," "Art in America," "Sculpture," and "American Ceramics." Zhang has many public collections, and his private collectors are located both nationally and internationally. In 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle picked Zhang's exhibition at the Richmond Art Center to be one of the Top 10 Exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay Area.