Matt DeGree

Matt DeGree


Visual Arts | Drawing | Painting

About the Artist

Like most aspects of my life, my art has been influenced by the Navy and a strong connection to the Ocean. I was born in Coronado and have lived here for the first two years of my life while my father, a Naval Officer, was stationed on North Island. From that point we bounced all over the world, moving every two or three years until I went to college at the Naval Academy. Everywhere we lived, whether it was Italy, Virginia, Australia, or various parts of California, we were always near the ocean, and my parents being the beach bums they are had my three sisters and me on the sand or in the waves as often as they could. Growing up I enjoyed my art classes in school but my free time was mostly spent playing sports or hitting the beach.

For the ten-year period that I was at the Naval Academy, then graduate school, flight school and on my first deployment as an F/A-18 pilot, I rarely picked up a sketch pad or paintbrush. It wasn’t until my second deployment that I decided I needed to learn something new during my free time on the aircraft carrier. My wife must have known I also needed a hobby and had given me an art set for my birthday. I decided to bring this set of acrylics aboard with me and began painting on days that I wasn’t flying. During my next tour, as a flight instructor, I had even more time to continue to paint, now using some oil paints that my mom had given me as a Christmas gift. Soon that hobby of painting became a passion.

I am still in the Navy and have been painting regularly for about nine years now. A lot of my paintings are commissions that showcase various naval platforms, landscapes, or families on the beach. When I start painting a canvas for my own home the subject matter is usually driven by what my wife (who should be an interior designer) wants on a specific wall of our house. Luckily we have similar tastes and can usually agree that the painting should have an ocean scene, including a lot of cobalt blue, and hopefully a nicely peeling wave. Lately, I’ve also wanted to add my two children to my paintings. We spend a lot of time on Coronado Beach and I have to stop myself from following my kids around with a camera as everything they do sets off my “that should be a painting” trigger. We are lucky to live in this beautiful place and look forward to having a lifetime of artistic inspiration just a short bike ride from home.


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