Ajay De was born in February 1967 and brought up in a tiny suburb of Kolkata. He joined Government College of Arts and Crafts to take formal education in art and did post-graduation at Sir. J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. He had his first solo show in Kolkata and first group show in Delhi.
The stark black and white paintings of the Japanese masters were a major influence, as was Japanese calligraphy. The theme of the hard-working rickshaw puller – unseen, unknown, fleeting through the crowded, narrow streets of Kolkata, carrying a load or man through sun, rain and wind, with the pace of the wind, as unheard as ever, except for the clang of their bells has got amazing popularity in Kolkata. This show was a great success and he started working from Mumbai. In 1998, he had his exhibition in Tokyo, Japan. His work was received well overseas.