Matt Petley-Jones was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1954 into a family of artists which most notably included artist and pioneering lithographer Robert Petley (1809-1869) and British-Canadian painter Llewellyn Petley-Jones (1908-1986).
Petley-Jones majored in Painting and graduated from the University of Alberta in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts Special. He also underwent art studies in Europe.
In 1986 Petley-Jomes established Petley Jones Gallery in Vancouver, BC, which currently holds a prominent place in the revered art-galleries-row off Granville Street.