Pictured above is Matt Furie. The visionary artist who brought the whimsical Pepe the Frog into existence. He has a life story filled with creativity, resilience, and the unexpected twists of the internet age. Born in 1979 in Ohio, Furie demonstrated an early passion for art and doodling which he nurtured throughout his childhood and adolescent years.

While studying at Ohio Wesleyan University, Furie's love for mythical creatures, sci-fi and the humorous underbelly of modern life, began to weave itself into his art, paving the way for his signature style. In the mid-2000s, his creation of "Boy's Club," a comic series centered around anthropomorphic characters living in suburbia, marked the birth of Pepe the Frog. Little did Furie know that this character would gain a life of its own beyond the comic strip, becoming a part of popular culture and internet meme history.

Pepe's journey is a testament to the power and unpredictability of the digital age. The innocent, comical frog was adopted by various online communities, including some that distorted its image into a symbol of hate, something Furie had never intended. Despite this unexpected twist, Furie demonstrated remarkable resilience and persistence in his efforts to reclaim Pepe's image, reminding us of the power creators hold over their creations.

In the face of adversity, Furie could have chosen to distance himself from his creation, but instead he battled to reshape Pepe's narrative, launching a #SavePepe campaign, creating new artworks, and even collaborating on a documentary, "Feels Good Man," to share his side of the story. His ability to persevere and remain true to his vision is a shining example of the indomitable spirit of an artist.

From humble doodles to becoming an unexpected icon, Matt Furie's journey is a testament to the power of creativity and resilience. His story teaches us that in an unpredictable world, an artist's heart can shape, reclaim, and reinvent narratives, even in the face of daunting challenges. As Furie once said, "Art should be a place for positivity, love, and understanding." His life and work continue to embody that principle, inspiring artists and audiences around the world.

Original image found in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/03/movies/feels-good-man
Original image found in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/03/movies/feels-good-man

Matt Furie Twitter

Feels Good Man Documentary