Jon Wing Lum grew up in New York City's Chinatown. He attended the progressive school, Little Red and Elizabeth Irwin, where the ideals of social justice and community service were embraced. He studied sculpture at Bard College and was part of the vibrant arts community in Greenwich Village.
He traveled extensively, and while visiting a friend in Mexico, met his future wife and daughter at an artists' enclave in Cuernavaca. He then returned to the states to raise a family and begin his career as a photographer and filmmaker.
When starting out in the film industry, he worked as an assistant editor, and was mentored by Jean Oser and Paul Falkenberg. One of his first films was nominated for an Academy Award, and since then he has received numerous awards worldwide, as well as grants from the National Endowment of the Arts.
For many years he taught at Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and throughout his life, has mentored many young filmmakers and artists.
He is also part of a book being written about pioneers in Asian American filmmaking.
Presently, when at his studio on the coast of Maine, he focuses on returning to sculpting as well as creating video art with the images and sounds of nature.