Lei Tan (1939-1999) was born in Guangzhou (Canton). He graduated in 1960 from the Dance Art Department of the Shanghai Theatre Academy, where he had started studies in 1956. In 1971, he joined the People's Liberation Army, where he continued his artistic work. He transferred to the Canton Art Academy in 1985, where he worked as an instructor.
Lei is known for his oil paintings and water colors. His painting 'Swiftly taking Luding Bridge' was awarded a prize and has been included in the collection of the Canton Fine Arts Museum.