John Coulter began drawing at an early age. When he was 8 years old, his parents enrolled him in a weekend sketching class at the Chicago Art Institute. He attended the University of Illinois and UCLA, then settled in Los Angeles, where he became a well-known graphic designer, creating CD packaging, logos, tourbooks and advertising for some of the world's most successful recording artists. His clients have included Madonna, Elton John, Shakira, Janet and Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Enrique Iglesias, Paula Abdul, Steve Winwood, Josh Groban, Wynonna Judd and Barbra Streisand.
In 1988, during visits to the Louvre, the Musée Picasso and the Musée d'orsay, John became inspired by Picasso's work. He began sketching and painting, refining a primitive art style based in part on Picasso's studies of tribal forms. Following a successful career in the music business, he segued from graphic design into fine art in 2007.
The blending of tribal and contemporary art styles is referred to as Modern Primitivism – a movement that looks outside one's culture to discover new perspectives and modes of interpretation in primitive societies. A fascination with all things primitive lies at the heart of John Coulter's work.
Coulter: "Tribal art puts us in touch with aboriginal cultures, primordial nature and our subconscious. It opens an inner awareness filled with fertile forms and embryonic ideas. It makes us stop and think about who we are and where we came from."
John's work, which he calls "The New Mythology," is a synthesis of tribal and contemporary shapes and figures – an exploration of the affinity between Primitive and Modern Art.