Ah Lao (1920), pseudonym of Lao Xianhong, was born in Shunde, Guangdong Province. He was a self-taught artist who got involved in producing propaganda art when he joined the New Fourth Army in 1942. In 1946, he became responsible for art work in the Shandong section of Xinhua Shudian (新华书店, New China Bookstores). He was promoted to the head office of Xinhua Shudian in 1949, and moved on to become an artist with the Renmin meishu chubanshe (人民美术出版社, People's Fine Arts Publishers).
From 1958 onwards, he took up teaching at a variety of institutions, including the Central Academy of Industrial Art.