Born on September 24, 1964 in Tuba City, Arizona on the Navajo (Dine’) reservation. Keith began painting at a young age. In the early 80’s, he worked various jobs and continued his education. He received a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Northern Arizona University, with emphasis on painting. After completing his studies, Keith moved back to the Navajo Reservation, where he taught art at Greyhill Academy High School. From Tuba City, Keith attended various art shows promoting his artistic style through out the southwest. Keith is presently teaching art with a Dine’ Community College and he eventually would like to establish his own art studio in Tuba City.
During his stay with his Grandparents, Keith learned the history of his clan; his clans are honeycomb born for the salt clan. Keith participated in Dine’ traditional ceremonies on a regular basis, Keith spiritual development became firmly rooted in the traditional ceremonies, bringing a new understanding into his life. The deepening influence of this involvement in traditional ceremonies also brought about a change in his work as an artist.
“My works are a representation of my heritage and traditional Dine’ life. I strive to be true to the past in my art and represent real life while always remaining conscientious and respectful to Dine’ people. The images of a full-blooded Dine’ artist, Keith Smith attempts to give each painting a soul and feel privileged to share his view of the world with others.”
Today, Keith’s work is sold through various shows and galleries. He also does work on commission. His pieces have been shown locally and regionally and have been included in galleries, museums, and private collections. Many of his painting have won awards, including: an honorable mention for a watercolor at the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market, 2001, a first place ribbon for a watercolor painting, 2000, and a first place ribbon for an oil painting, 1999, at the Museum of Northern Arizona Navajo Show. He was also chosen as the poster artist for the 2001 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Pow-Wow poster. He often does many shows in Arizona and New Mexico. And recently 2002, he recevied the SWAIA fellowship.