Keith Wolfe Smarch is a Tlingit artist living in the Tagish First Nation in the Yukon Territory. He’s well known as a carver, but Keith is accomplished in many creative disciplines. He’s among the most respected, contemporary First Nation artists, but many other aspects of Keith’s life contribute to his identity. He’s also a teacher, hunter, trapper, and a proud father.
Keith is incredibly passionate about sharing the rich history of his people and the cultural traditions related to Tlingit art. I had the pleasure of spending a day with him last spring at his shop in Carcross and he was kind enough to walk me through many of the various work processes that are part of his daily design and creative routine. Besides being a highly skilled artist, he’s articulate, thoughtful, and a great story teller. At the end of the day I left Carcross with a deep admiration and respect for this man who has deliberately chosen to live a rural and simple lifestyle, despite that his artistic practice is far from simple.