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Epcot International Festival of the Arts – Artist Profile: Jason Ratner

–Tiera Tanner, WDW Radio Team

A life-long Disney dreamer, graphic designer Jason Ratner celebrates his artistic passion through numerous creative endeavors.

A Magical Kingdom – Jason Ratner

“I grew up always loving everything Disney and all types of art,” Ratner said. “I previously worked at Disney for almost ten years on a creative team focusing on marketing and sales. During that time, I also looked for additional opportunities to do more illustrative work…[c]urrently, I am a Senior Graphic Artist at Loungefly, illustrating artwork for a variety of new bags and collections. In addition to that, I contribute artwork for Disney WonderGround Gallery.”

Ratner’s artwork has been utilized in a myriad of Disney entities, such as on the Disney Parks Blog, Disney Family, Disney Princess, and Pixar. 

He explained his work as “whimsical and detailed – showcasing Disney characters and elements in an enchanting composition that allows you to really feel the essence of that film, and/or the character it features.”

A powerful composition reigns in A Magical Kingdom, one of Ratner’s newest pieces for this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts. In this digital artwork, the viewer’s eyes are led through the vertical piece. Framed elements of iconic imagery from Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park harken back to classic storybook illustrations. Viewers can imagine traveling through this artwork just as they would enter Magic Kingdom – greeting the Mickey flowerbed and train station, then journeying toward the castle, which sparkles in a night sky illuminated by fireworks. Each section of the piece is a detailed masterpiece in itself, but together tells the story of the magical kingdom Ratner holds dear.

“This year, I think my favorite piece would have to be A Magical Kingdom,” he said. “Magic Kingdom is my favorite park, and I really pushed myself with the details to convey that feeling when you walk into the park, hearing the train pull into the station, and turning the corner onto Main Street U.S.A. to see the castle.”

This year marked the sixth appearance for Ratner at the Festival of the Arts. He reminisced about the original “Festival of the Masters” at Disney Springs: “I always loved attending that event to get inspired and meet other artists. I had always hoped that one day I would be a part of something like that.”

“In 2018 when I joined Disney’s WonderGround Gallery, I was also given the opportunity to create new art for the Epcot Festival,” continued Ratner. 

Some of his favorite festival memories included creating the official festival poster for last year’s event.

“At the festival last year, my piece, Epcot: The Magic of Possibility, was used as the official poster of the festival,” Ratner said. “I could not have been more honored, and excited. That really made last year extra special, and something I will never forget.”

Ratner said what makes the festival special is that it “does an amazing job bringing both artists and guests together.” 

“I always look forward to meeting new artists and guests as well as seeing all the familiar faces,” he continued.

Experiencing and sharing new artwork for the festival also encourages Ratner.

“I think it’s only natural for our work to evolve over the years,” he said. “I try to make new creative challenges for myself, that would continue to make each piece I do fresh and exciting, and allow me to push myself creatively. Incorporating fuller scenes, and special moments within each piece, has been something I continue to work on.”

Ratner also urged young and aspiring artists to keep moving forward.

“Don’t give up, and focus on what you are most passionate about because that will be some of your best work,” Ratner said. “The road is not always easy, but it’s important to remember the path you ultimately want to be on, and don’t be afraid of getting side tracked, even if it means it takes you a bit longer to get where you are going.”

To meet Ratner and view his artwork in person, visit the artist tents at the France Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase during the festival, and to learn more follow @jayratner81 on Instagram.