Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
July 29, 2000 - Issue 15

Mark Silversmith

"I try to capture the American Indian of the Plains, the Northwest and the Southwest. I want to capture all traditions. That's what I'm known for, landscapes with shots of Indian culture such as a group trekking across the snow."
- Mark Silversmith

Mark Silversmith comes from a creative family as both his father and grandfather were silversmiths. He was born in Rehoboth, New Mexico in 1954 and spent most of his young life on the Navajo Reservation east of Gallup, NM.

While still a pre-schooler he would draw and doodle on any scrap of paper he could find. The first inspirations for the subjects in his paintings were his environment and the Navajo culture and traditions. He observed wildlife in the natural setting of the high country of pines during the summer, and while grazing cattle in the valley during the winter.

Mark attended boarding school at Fort Wingate near Gallup, NM, and he recalls his fourth grade teacher choosing him to draw the posters and school class boards.

After graduating from Southwestern Oklahoma State at Weathorford, OK, Mark taught art and industrial art classes to elementary and middle school students at the BIA school, Dzilth-na-o-dith-hle, south of Bloomfield, NM.

He followed this with a B.A. degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and taught junior high school for seven years. He then turned professional artist and in 1982 married Barbara, who is also now his agent.

His life experience of chopping wood and hauling water plus the example his father set led Mark to have good work ethics, and to appreciate the modern conveniences.

This discipline is shown in his art as Mark studies all North American Indian tribes for their culture and traditions in preparation for his paintings. Since the different tribes traded among each other sometimes the subjects in his paintings may be dressed in the breastplate of one tribe and wearing another article of clothing or beads from another tribe. It is Mark's belief that all tribes have a common bond.

Watercolor painting is his expertise but he is also skillful in pastels, acrylics, and sculpture. Mark's originals, limited edition prints, and posters are found in hundreds of galleries and private collections world wide.

Mark was honored as the Indian Arts and Crafts Association Native Artist of 1986.

At the 1997 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, Inc. (SWAIA) Mark Silversmith was awarded First Place in Transparent Watercolor, and Second Place in Opaque Water-Based Paint.

He lives in Farmington, NM, in the Four Corners region of the Southwest.

Mark Silversmith Gallery



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