The son of a medicine man and a Navajo traditional weaver, Johnny Yazzie was born on December 29, 1945 on the Navajo Reservation east of Tuba City, Arizona. He is a painter, sculptor and jewelry maker, known primarily for his Southwest and Plains scenery paintings.
Yazzie received his early education at the Tuba City Boarding School and then the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California. He later attended the Institute of American Indian Arts and the College of Santa Fe, where he completed his Associates Degree in Fine Art.
He regards the Plains Indians who are subjects of many of his paintings a part of his extended family and conveys in his work a sense of spirituality, history, and his love for nature.