Cai Jin was born in Tunxi, Anhui Province, China in 1965.
Cai studied art at the Anhui Teachers University in Wuhu, China, graduating in 1985. She went on to participate in the Advanced Oil Painting Program of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, where she studied until 1991. She worked in New York between 1997 and 2007.
Cai teaches at Tianjin Fine Arts Institute in Tianjin, China.