Clifford Beck (1946-1995)
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Clifford Beck (1946-1995) was the second of nine children born into a prominent Navajo family near Piñon, Arizona in 1946. He attended boarding school in Holbrook and graduated from high school in Flagstaff in 1964. His family valued education and he was one of the first young Diné to take advantage of tribal scholarship funds to attend college. He attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California whose art faculty included members of the Bauhaus school of design. There he was exposed to the work of impressionist artists, his favorite being Edgar Degas, whose use of pastels can be seen in Beck's work. He connected with other Native American artists living in the San Francisco Bay area who encouraged him. He had a two-man show with Patrick Swazo Hinds in Berkeley during his sophomore year.
After college he returned to the Navajo Reservation where he taught art at the newly established Navajo Community College in Tsaile, Arizona. During his time as an educator, he painted part time, and in 1978, he began painting full time. His numerous awards include first prizes from Indian Market Santa Fe (1992 and 1994), Museum of Northern Arizona (1990), and the Annual Scottsdale National Indian Arts Exhibition (1975), and first place for drawing at Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial and at Red Cloud Indian Art Show (1979).