Dan Smith's career may have gotten
off to a slow start, but once he got on a roll, he took it
all the way.
Dan was born on August 15, 1954,
in Mankato, Minnesota. His father raised and trained quarter
horses, but Dan's interests ran more along the artistic vein.
However, one of his high school art instructors dampened his
enthusiasm when he told the class that the only two ways of
making a living in art was to either teach or paint portraits
in shopping malls.
Somewhat discouraged, Dan left
Minnesota right after high school and went to Arizona where
he worked in an automotive - speed shop customizing high-performance
engines. After a year, he decided that the only real direction
his life could take was art. He returned to Minnesota and
enrolled in Mankato State University. A year later, he entered
what is now known as Mankato Technical Institute where he
received training as a commercial artist.
At age 21, he married Elizabeth
Heintz, a pretty, young woman whom he had met while attending
college. Both had difficulty adjusting to the give and take
of married life, and at the end of two years, they decided
that divorce was the only sensible move.
For the next four years, they
dated frequently, matured, and realized that they really did
love each other. They remarried and now are the proud parents
of Danielle, Adam, and Nichole.
Dan's appearance is that of an
athlete. Surprisingly, all through high school, he never tipped
the scales at over 140 pounds and did not participate in sports.
After he finished school and was holding a steady job as a
commercial illustrator, he made up his mind to change all
that. He began lifting weights. Five years later, he competed
in the Mr. Minnesota contest and walked away with trophies
for the best chest and most muscular, both very competitive
Dan freely admits that he didn't
take a career too seriously until he was 25. At that point,
he committed himself to his art and "getting his act
together." The harder he worked, the better things became.
Then in 1983, he won the Minnesota Pheasant stamp contest.
It proved to be a sleeper and sold four times the number of
prints as anyone expected. Dan was off and running.
Dan's interest in automobiles
began before he was old enough to drive, and it has not waned.
He currently drives a Porsche 944 turbo, but confesses to
thoughts of owning a Ferrari. He also has one eye open for
a classic Corvette, circa1953 to 1955.
Dan's other hobby is fishing,
and Alaska is high on his list. His plans for the future are
to travel to Africa and Alaska for research and to fish .
. . and fish . . . and fish.