Gordon A. Smith was born in 1919 in East Brighton, England. In 1933 he came to Canada with his mother, they settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His studies were extensive and ongoing throughout his life. From 1937-1940 he attended the Winnipeg School of Art, in 1944 he received teacher training at Normal School, in Vancouver. In 1944 he was accepted into 4th year at Vancouver School of Art, in 1951 he took summer courses at California School of Fine Arts and in 1957 he took summer art history courses at Harvard University.
He was an intelligence officer in World War Two. In 1941, he returned from the war wounded. In 1946 began teaching at the Vancouver School of Art.
His work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows internationally.
Smith’s many major awards include the Order of Canada, 1996, and the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts in 2007. In 2009 he was the winner of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. He is also a member of The Royal Canadian Academy.
In 2002 Smith established Smith foundation. Currently he works in his studio in West Vancouver, British Columbia.