Hailing from a small town just north of the Mornington Peninsula, Matthew Pepi from Forever We Grow, in an aspiring, self-taught watercolour artist with a speciality in seascape, landscape and focused imagery.
Matthew, 29, pursued an interest in visual arts as a young student, focusing on graphite drawings through his VCE years. In pursuit of a more challenging medium, Matthew decided to turn his attention to watercolour oils after an inspiring encounter with another watercolour artist upon the Mornington Peninsula. Matthew decided watercolour oils would provide long hours of focus, expressive opportunities and ways in which a connection to the natural environment is always evident.
Between 2007 – 2012, Matthew was employed as a Rifleman in the Australian Defence Force. After serving his training periods in Kapooka, Singleton and Darwin, Matthew was selected for deployment to Afghanistan in October 2008. During his deployment, Matthew experienced a pivotal turning point in his life and career when he was wounded in action in December 2008. Difficulties in mobility and personal mental health meant Matthew had to turn his devotion to therapeutic practises such as drawing, surfing and hiking the Australian high country.
As a way of personal rehabilitation, Matthew decided to take some time away from the Defence Force and travel to South America. Both to aid his recovery and to find influence, inspiration and purpose, Matthew made his way through the desert plains of Bolivia, to the vast mountains and glaciers of Chilean Patagonia. Most notably, Matthew found an immense connection to the Torres Del Paine National Park and subsequently, spent a few weeks sketching the infinite mountainside. Inspired by a region so foreign to the Australian landscape, Matthew’s true muse came in the pages of his arts journal, detailing the sketches and intrinsic feelings he felt during his travels.
You will often find Matthew searching Westernport Bay for the nearest surf break with his mates, or in his home studio overlooked by his wife, Melissa, and two daughters, Bonnie and Ariel (two adorable King Charles Cavaliers), as he continues to experiment with watercolour. Whilst Matthew continues to search for that one perfect wave, he continues to connect and evoke human connection through his paintings for every art lover to enjoy.
Matthew is exploring the corridors of art therapy at the moment, and commissions his personal artwork throughout Australia. If you would like to get in touch with him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or personal message him on Instagram at @foreverwegrow.
Words by Jonathon Pepi
Artist statement from Matthew Pepi
Painting with watercolour oils is a transformative emotion that shows through the various hues built into each and every watercolour painting I craft. The life learnt experiences I have gained throughout my early adulthood has led me down a path of creativity, exploration and wonder. As so much of my personal time is spent surfing and relaxing by various bodies of water, a smoothness and tranquility is represented within the sunsets, sunrises and fog dwelling mountain ranges. Watercolour painting and surfing have many similarities. As I surf the last lines of kinetic energy and release various pigments from the brush, I experience living and lively emotions within the present moment, a moment in time that very little people tend to explore.