Quincy Tahoma was born near Tuba City, Arizona and given the name Tahoma, which in Navajo means "Water Edge." He attended the Albuquerque Indian School from 1936 to 1940, and did post-graduate work at the Santa Fe Indian School where he developed his unique painting style with pastoral landscapes. Early in his career, his paintings were serene and soothing in tone, but increasingly they had subject matter of bloody wars and men killing animals.
He served overseas in World War II with the United States Army where he was one of the Indian Code Talkers, who played a critical part in the winning of the war in the pacific. Tahoma then worked for a short time as a painter in Hollywood movie studios. As a full-time artist, he set up his studio Santa Fe, and had become a popular Navajo painter and muralist. His paintings have a special "signature" that shows the "end" of that particular painting — i.e., a painting of a young girl standing by a horse might have in Tahoma's signature block a tiny picture showing the girl riding the horse.