Born in Clinton, Oklahoma Bennie Buffalo attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) from 1963 to 1967. After his military service in Vietnam he enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute where he majored in painting until 1972. From 1975 to 1976, Buffalo attended the University of Oklahoma in Norman to major in filmmaking. His early abstract works at IAIA combine non-figurative Native designs with Hard-edge painting style. Beginning in the 1980s, Buffalo became best known for his photorealistic portraits of contemporary tribal members often dressed in pow-wow regalia. Buffalo has exhibited his work widely throughout the Southwest, east coast and throughout the Midwest United States.