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Epcot International Festival of the Arts Artist Profile – John Coulter

John Coulter

“Wishes,” by John Coulter, new work for the 2022 Festival of the Arts

Enchanting audiences with not only his art, but his performances as well, John Coulter’s career may seem as magical as a Disney fairytale. 


Coulter studied art at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.


“After college, I took a long break from visual arts and focused on performing arts,” Coulter explained. “I spent the next 25 years traveling the world as a fashion model, performing and doing TV commercials.”


Coulter maintains a long history with Disney, including entertainment roles in Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Coulter performed as characters in live shows and parades, and was the first Tarzan for the “Tarzan Rocks!” show at DAK.


“I will never forget the first time I swung onto that stage from 80 feet in the air and the crowd cheered,” Coulter stated.


Coulter also holds a background in costume design, which inspired his artwork.


“My years of playing Disney characters shows in my art as I’m mostly known for painting princesses and villains in elaborate and detailed costumes,” said Coulter. “When I started back to painting again, Disney found me right away. It was a dream come true… when I was asked to be an official Disney artist, it was a full circle moment.”


Coulter has been a Disney artist for eleven years, and has been a part of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts since its inception as the “Festival of the Masters” in Disney Springs.


Coulter reminisced on this inaugural event:


I will never forget seeing the joy my art brought to people! I couldn’t believe the first time someone asked for my autograph. Previously, I signed as Prince Charming for Disney, but never as John Coulter! Honestly, that is my inspiration now, just seeing how happy my art makes people.”


Coulter’s new work for the 2022 festival, titled “Wishes.” 


“What every Disney Princess has in common is their ‘Wishes,’” Coulter explained. “In each animated movie, there is a window or balcony scene where the princesses look out to a starry night or a new sunny morning and wish for a better tomorrow or a brighter day. That inspiring hope is what I wanted to capture in this piece.”


In this digital painting, whimsical brushstrokes and details frame each princess’s balcony. All are composed in a dynamic way to express nine unique narratives. However, all together, the piece portrays the collective princesses’ wishful wonder.


Coulter encouraged young, aspiring artists to “study other artists that inspire and speak to you, but find your own voice, your own style that sets you apart.”


“Like any craft you must practice, practice, practice to get good,” Coulter continued. “I can’t emphasize the importance of drawing skills. That is the base of any painting, so draw, draw, draw! Most importantly, have fun, don’t focus on the end result of what kind of artist you want to be that will happen when it’s supposed to, when you are ready! Enjoy the journey and where you are at as an artist right now.”


Join Coulter as he celebrates his tenth year at the Festival in the WonderGround tent Jan. 21-24! Follow Coulter on Instagram @johncoulterdesigns or learn more at johncoulterdesigns.com.


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.