BAY LAKE, Fla. – The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is officially underway at Walt Disney World.
Guests are getting the opportunity to try a handful of delicious dishes throughout the World Showcase. In addition to the food and drinks, a new unique caricature stand is making headlines.
Local company, Artistic Talent Group, is skipping the artist’s traditional paper pad and putting caricatures on wine corks.
Located in EPCOT’s World Showcase between Africa and Germany is the stand Cork Toons.
With the stroke of a pen, a select number of artists are carefully drawing people’s faces on wine corks that are later displayed in a glass dome and stand.
“I have drawn caricatures at Disney for 29 years,” said Keelan Parham, artist and founder of Artistic Talent Group. “I’ve drawn hundreds of thousands of people in that amount of time, on paper, or on my iPad, because we do in digital sometimes, but I never really thought about doing them on corks. And strangely, no one else seems to have either. We seem to be the first ones doing it, and we were just playing around with names and came up with Cork Toons and the rest is history.”
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Parham said the idea to create Cork Toons began a couple years ago during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“My wife and I found that we had a few too many corks appearing around our house. And one night, she said, ‘Do you think you could draw on one of these?’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’s entirely too small!’ And then after a couple more glasses, I decided to try it. And that’s basically where it started from,” Parham explained.
Following that little spark of inspiration from his wife, Parham said it took time to find the perfect wine cork that would work for the idea.
For years, the company has been drawing cartoons for private events, parties and even Disney events, but never have they retailed a product like Cork Toons until now.
“We’ve been developing it for probably a year-and-a-half now,” Parham said. “So it’s really the ground floor as I’ve been telling people when they get drawn.”
Artistic Talent Group is no stranger to Walt Disney World.
The group of roughly 60 artists develops fun and creative works around some of Disney’s parks and at “The Art Corner” at Disney Springs. Parham said he personally helps train his artists to make Cork Toons perfect for guests.
“There’s definitely a learning curve for our artists because it is small,” Parham explained. “I always tell people that drawing simple is hard. Because you have to figure out what you can leave out -- but also what the most important details are. And that’s one of the things when you’re drawing small like this - you’ve got to draw simply, but still draw well.”
“Anytime you come up with a new product, you wonder if other people are going to like it -- so, to have people liking it and lining up for it is really cool,” Parham concluded.
The cork caricatures usually take about five minutes to complete. Artists can draw people, or even pets, on corks from photographs. Cork Toons is offering two different options at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. For $19, guests can get a cork caricature and display dome or for $25 guests can get a cork caricature, display dome and stand.
The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival runs through Nov. 19.
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