Art Tafoya

Art Tafoya is one of the most exciting Contemporary "American" artists today.  Art's heritage is Native American Pueblo Yaqui who reside mostly in Southern Arizona.  One thing that stands out in Arts beautiful jewelry is the exquisite stamp work which by the way he hand makes himself. This is an old technique and rarely seen in today’s jewelry.

He learned the basics of silversmithing at age 12 from a blacksmith at a riding stable near his home. Later he learned the art of making handmade stamps and dies from Apache Carlos White Eagle, a former student of the legendary Navajo silversmith Fred Peshlakai.  Art became enamored with Fred Peshlakai and has made an exhaustive study of his stamps, and is an expert at identifying even unsigned work by the master. All of Art’s stamps and dies are his own creations.  He specializes in traditional hand stamped Navajo style silver jewelry inspired by Fred Peshlakai, but in a style all his own.  Art told us that whenever he makes a new stamp he asked himself if this is something that Fred would approve of and if not he scraps it and starts all over again. 

His original jewelry is highly sought after by collectors worldwide. He was a silversmith in residence at The Turquoise Shop at Knotts Berry Farm in California for 25 years before relocating to Albuquerque. His work was recently added to the permanent collection of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.  Every piece is finely detailed and his use of his stamps is exemplary.  Very few Native American Artists past and present have really mastered the art of creating as well as using their own stamps but Art’s work stands up to that of greatest Masters, Fred Peshlakai, Austin Wilson and Hosteen Goodluck.

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