Gordon A,Smith was born June 18, 1919, in Hove, Sussex, England. In 1933, his family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Smith's artistic interest developed out of his father's influence as a watercolourist. In 1937, he enrolled in the Winnipeg School of Art, where he studied with Lemoine Fitzgerald, however would eventually move to Vancouver with his wife Marion. With the advent of World War II Smith joined the Canadian Army in 1940, returning four years later to continue his education at the Vancouver School of Art. After completing his courses at the school in 1946, Smith joined the staff of teaching Graphics and Design for ten years. In 1956, he joined the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia where he taught art until his retirement in 1982.
Smith has exhibited throught Canada, as well as on the international art scene. His work is found in major art collections including the the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.
Throughout his career, Gordon Smith has received numerous awards and honours, including First Prize at the Biennial of Canadian Art in 1955, an Honourary Doctorate from Simon Fraser University in 1973, Professor Emeritus from the University of British Columbia in 1983 and an Honourary Doctorate from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1995. In 1996 he was also awarded the Order of Canada for his significant contribution to Canadian culture. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.