To understand Andersen Kee’s art is to understand the artist himself. Or is it the other way around? Born on the Navajo Nation to a mother who weaved and to a father who was a silversmith and painter, Andersen did not study traditional Dine life, he lived it. Seventh of fourteen children, Andersen grew up riding horses bareback, as there weren’t enough saddles to go around. Artistic from the beginning, he and his brothers would draw on the sheer cliffs, often standing on their horses.
In High School, Andersen found a friend and mentor in his art teacher, the late Larry Giller. Giller encouraged Andersen to attend Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts. He eventually settled in New Mexico, living in Taos for 25 years. He now lives in Santa Fe.
Andersen’s career took off almost immediately. Initially focused on painting, he would visit local galleries with his work. Still finalizing business arrangements with one, Andersen had several paintings leaning against a wall. Before they were even hung, three were sold. There has been no looking back since. Andersen’s earlier works of landscapes and scenes of traditional Native life evolved into striking, dramatically lit portraits.
In the late 80’s, Andersen returned to jewelry, using skills taught by his father, who himself had learned silverwork later in life. Andersen used jewelry making as a relief from the pressure of keeping up with the sales of his paintings. His jewelry is simple, with a strong sense of tradition. He creates his pieces by hand; each resulting work is unique. The images you see on this site are examples of his custom works. Andersen enjoys the challenge of taking an idea from inception to fabrication, and the results are stunning. Please contact him through this site for more information on ordering your own one of a kind piece.
While Andersen’s art career has taken him across the country, and even to Europe, he has never lost sight of his heritage. No matter the influence the modern world may have, Andersen strives in his art as well as his life to remain true to the life of the Dine – tradition, integrity, and generosity. From the simple lines of his jewelry, to the fine detail of a portrait, to the spirit of a wild horse, captured in a watercolor, Andersen’s work follows the way of the Dine – the beauty way.