By Christian Franzen
Michael Kabotie was born on September 3rd 1942 in the small village of Shongopovi on the Hopi Reservation located in Arizona. The son of famous artist Fred Kabotie, Michael was surrounded by art since he was born. While growing up, his father taught him techniques in painting as well as Hopi Silversmithing.
In high school, Kabotie dove fully into painting enrolling in as many art classes as he could. Since he had already been painting for several years under instruction of his father, Kabotie was a major stand out and recognized for his artistic talents. After completing high school he went onto attend the Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas. During his junior year at the university he was asked to assist on a Southwest Indian Art Project at the University of Arizona. He then attended the University of Arizona for a brief amount of time.
With the completion of the Southwest Indian Art Project, Kabotie gained some exposure and was asked to host a show of his own. He was gifted a one man show at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona which turned out to be a large success. Having had such a successful show, Katobie dropped out of college and continued to pursue the path of an artist on his own terms.
In 1972-73 he was a key figure in the formation an artist group known as Artist Hopid. This new group dedicated themselves to interpreting traditional Hopi art forms and transitioning them into contemporary works.
Both Kabotie's painting and metal work take a lot from Hopi history and traditions of art making. His works can be characterized by his use of bold color, symbols, and dynamic motion. Sadly, Kabotie died in 2009 at the age of 67 from the Swine Flu at his home in Arizona.