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Epcot International Festival of the Arts Artist Profile – Darren Wilson

The first word that comes to mind when I think “Disney” is creativity. Every aspect of the Disney company is maintained by creative people, especially artists. However, we often don’t know the names or even recognize the artists behind Disney masterpieces. Epcot’s Festival of the Arts pulls back the veil to identify and celebrate some of the artists responsible for Disney work we may already know and love.

Darren Wilson is one of these Disney artists who have added their talent to numerous Disney projects. Wilson is designer and artist for the Disney company of 24 years. He is also the principal designer for Disney Parks and Experiences – producing products for Disney Parks, Disney Cruise Line, and more, including the Art of Disney galleries.

“I have been involved with the Art of Disney for 20 plus years,” Wilson explained. “I had been invited to the Festival of the Masters held in Disney Springs eons ago [and] I have been involved with the Festival of the Arts since inception.”

“Lost Treasures,” is one of Wilson’s exclusive artworks for the Festival. Inspired by an infamous scene from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, this painting features Ariel with her sea creature friends, Sebastian and Flounder. Desaturated tones of Ariel’s treasure trove build toward the three characters as rays of light break through from the top of the painting to accentuate the focal point – Ariel eyeing a treasured music box. 

Wilson’s paintings, often depicting popular Disney characters and themes, distinctly stand apart with magnetic and engaging compositions, desaturate color palettes, and painterly texture. These artworks encourage viewers to reconsider well known Disney moments through Wilson’s skilled perspective.

“Growing up, I received a Disney light up drawing desk that gave me great inspiration and practice,” Wilson said. 

He also explained that as a part of a military family he was always on the go, but turned to the arts and focused on refining his drawing skills.

Wilson said that his inspiration for his current work comes from all areas of his life, such as from the viewpoints of his children,  movies, life experiences, other artists and travel.

For future artists wishing to make their own creative impact on the Disney company, Wilson recommends working hard.

“Draw everyday and either go to a reputable art school or watch tons of how-to videos on the subject you wish to pursue,” Wilson explained. “There are no shortcuts – determination and the drive to get better will propel you in the right direction.”

To learn more about Wilson and his work visit his social media profiles: Instagram: @darrenwilsonart and Facebook: www.facebook.com/darren.wilsonfineart. Meet Wilson in person at the Epcot Festival of Arts for his signing events in January and February. (Jan. 14, 15, 28, and 29; Feb. 11, 18, 19, and 21).

-Tiera Tanner

Tiera Tanner lives her life spreading pixie dust. Whether creating art in her studio, or raising her two young sons, Tiera is inspired by the magic of Disney, and is always encouraging her husband to plan their next trip to the parks.