Kee Yazzie, Jr. (Navajo) was born in 1969 near Ganado Arizona — halfway between Canyon de Chelly and the Petrified Forest — a descendant of artists and master silversmiths. He studied architectural design and linguistics at Brigham Young University where he became fluent in both Laotian and Thai. In 1992 he began working as a metalsmith under the guidance of Ray Scott. He mentions Mike Bird-Romero, James Little, Gibson Nez, and Norbet Peshlakai as additional influences. He has an affinity for translating geometric patterns, Navajo rug designs, and ancient petroglyphs and symbols into his metalwork. In his very first show, Eight Northern Pueblo in 1995, his thunder bracelet took second place. Over the years, Kee has become a master metalsmith known for his applique work in both gold on silver as well as a cut-out, mosaic, and inlay. He uses only the finest natural turquoises (Lander Blue, Bisbee, Lone Mountain, and Red Mountain, highest grade coral, and best gemstones.
Kee’s work has been featured in the “Totems to Turquoise” exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and “Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation” a national traveling exhibition. Kee Yazzie has made it his ambition to translate the symbols of his ancestors preserved in the very stones of the earth into contemporary, wearable metal art.
According to the artist himself: “I try to create something that people will like to wear.” He now lives in Winslow, Arizona with his family.