Kam Mak was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New York City's Chinatown after his family moved to the United States in 1971. Kam's involvement with City Art Workshop, an organization designed to encourage the art interests of inner city youth, inspired his love of painting. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree in 1984 from New York's School of Visual Arts where he studied on a full scholarship.
Mak was commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service to design the 12-year stamp series Celebrating Lunar New Year that began in 2008 and will continue through 2019.