Long was born in Chengdu, Sichuan in 1961 and grew up in Kunming, Yunnan, China. During his early career years, he drew attention as the organizer of "The New Representational Image Exhibition", an influential exhibition in the history of Chinese contemporary art and part of the famous '85 New Wave movement. He later established the Southwestern Art Experimental Group, an avant-garde art community in southwest China. In 1993, Long migrated to the US and currently lives and works between Los Angeles and Hangzhou, China. Long has exhibited internationally, including a 2016 exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.