Marco Paparone doesn’t look like your artistic type.
The tall and shaggy-haired West Australian looks – and even sounds – like a typical beachgoer. But beneath his laidback exterior is a creative side he’s eager to share with the world.
The 20-year-old recently launched his own clothing line “Scaly Mates” featuring images from the Indian Ocean, where Paparone spent a lot of his childhood while growing up in North Fremantle.
Scaly Mates is a small clothing label which draws on the memories of Paparone growing up along the coast of Geographe Bay in Busselton and annual trips to Exmouth, Western Australia.
As the Brisbane big man explains, a lot of time is taken to produce the unique drawings which started out as a pastime.
“I draw the designs myself with a pencil and rubber, and then fix them up with a texta,” Paparone says.
“I like to draw and love the ocean. So I thought it should be something I do in my spare time and I got ideas to start a clothing label as a bit of a hobby.
“It’s been in the process for the last six to eight months, but it’s only been live for about three months.”
Paparone’s passion for the ocean was founded at an early age, spending his childhood years following siblings as they enjoyed water activities.
“I did a lot of fishing and some surfing and diving. Fishing was mostly with dad while my brother liked to surf and dive so I just joined in with them when I was younger,” he said.
“Scaly Mates is a way to show what my childhood was like growing up and a way for me to connect back to the home state with all the features being from West Australian sea life.
“I like to draw and love the ocean. So I thought it should be something I do in my spare time and I got ideas to start a clothing label as a bit of a hobby.” – marco Paparone
So profound was the influence of his family, Paparone even named the clothing label after a phrase commonly uttered by his father.
“The name came from dad; he always used to say ‘you and all your bloody scaly mates’ and it’s just stuck in my mind.”
While his off-field career is picking up, the key-position Lion is looking to cement things on the field in 2015.
Coming to the end of his third pre-season at AFL level, Paparone hopes he can become a permanent member of the Brisbane backline in the coming months.
“It’s been a long and tough pre-season but I haven’t had any injuries so I’m feeling pretty fit and have put on a bit of size which helps.
“I just want to play consistent footy. I’m hoping to crack it in the backline this year – that’s where I’ve been doing my pre-season – so hopefully that’ll help add another string to my bow and I can put a bit more defensive pressure on throughout the year.”
Paparone falls well under the club’s average age of 23.36 years – the fourth-youngest list in the AFL for 2015 – and believes the Lions will only get better as the players get more comfortable under the coaching of Justin Leppitsch.
Happy to have signed with the @brisbanelions, exciting times ahead with the group we have. Thank you for everyone's supportive messages!
— Marco Paparone (@paparoneee) August 1, 2014
“More exposure to games and experience is how we will improve. We have heaps of talent and have our game plan pretty much down pat now but we just need that exposure to implement it during matches.”