John Yu Lannom was born in 1984 in Grinnell, Iowa. He began painting imaginary characters inspired by the Japanese anime cartoons and Marvel comics of his childhood, which later evolved into painting still lives and drawing charcoal portraits. While attending Grinnell high school he entered the early college program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He enrolled there in 2002.
His life has been defined by growing in the traditional Iowan “all American boy” lifestyle while being remarkably influenced by his Taiwanese mother. Frequent visits to both Taiwan and Mainland China, (which he considers a second, ancestral homeland) provide a vast, yet subtle influence upon his painting.
His work is informed by a myriad of sources that stem from his dual native Chinese and American cultures- elements of traditional Chinese landscape painting, and western classicism appear alongside references to pop culture, comic art, and a more urban, graffiti-inspired design aesthetic.