If laughter is contagious, then hanging out with Abigale and Colin Fortnum is a full-blown epidemic of fun.
“We have a whole bag full of prosthetics. It’s not pretty looking,” says Colin, which makes everyone in the room laugh. The couple settles into a couch overloaded with handcrafted costume pieces from years of adventures at renaissance fairs, Halloween parties, and trips to Disney World.
“It’s lots of hot glue!” says Abigale, and this too is funny. Both declarations would not otherwise be humorous, but taken in the context of being in the same room as Abigale and Colin, the statements seem hilarious. Maybe it’s because we are surrounded by a million-piece collection of bric-abrac ranging from wind-up adults in compromising positions to a massive collection of miniature figurines of every Disney sort. There are dozens of Norwegian trolls posed at the ready, which Abigale has collected from Epcot since she was a child.
Yeah, I think it’s safe to call their love of all things Disney an obsession; even if Abigale and Colin were offended by the label, they’d politely laugh it off anyway. But, yeah, it’s obsessive… in a good way.
The two met and fell in love as students at PCA&D and eventually got engaged in Disney. They go back every year to celebrate the date—this May will mark their 5th anniversary. And their visits are now more than once a year. So much so, the bartender at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot recognizes them.
“We went for my 30th birthday, and now it’s been like three years in a row… ” says Colin as their story chimes together.
“Yup, every birthday,” adds Abigale.
“Then there’s one year we went three times…” continues Colin.
“For Food & Wine,” they say in unison, dressed in coordinated Mickey Mouse ensembles in their unique East Side apartment. The Food & Wine Festival is an Epcot International event, held in Abigale’s favorite part of the park. Colin is a fan of Animal Kingdom. She loves Splash Mountain. His favorite ride is Expedition Everest. Then Abigale drops the word Disneybounding…
“As adults you are not able to dress up at the parks,” explains Abigale. Per park rules, guests over the age of 14 cannot dress as to interfere with official cast members. Yeah, makes sense. That does not stop creative people like Abigale and Colin (and the thousands* of Disneybounders around the world) from displaying their passion for certain characters by dressing in corresponding color schemes and carefully considered accessories.
“You can nod your head to different characters. It’s really fun,” says Abigale, whose Mickey Mouse drop earrings sway about when she laughs her infectious and beautiful laugh.
“It’s like color-blocking with accessories,” adds Colin. “We just did The Aristocats. I was Toulouse, so I wore all orange with a blue bowtie and beret.”
Colin studied photography and now mixes colors with cuts at Salon 717. Abigale’s degree is in illustration and some of her work can be spotted around town. She was described as the “artist in residence” by Jethro’s owner Bob Esbenshade, who still displays the Abigale-created portrait of him and his chef-wife, Jennifer, as the establishment’s Facebook profile pic.
“I was able to illustrate some of the labels at Spring House. That was really fun,” she says, mentioning her current position as bartender at the brewery. Her art is unique; full of robust orientation and vivid color, it follows only the whims of her own creativity even if a commissioned piece. “I want to be free with my artwork and have fun with it…. I love the form. I love bodies. I love nudity. I’m into making forms weirder and more interesting. I’m more twisted. What I draw is what I like to look at.”
Inspired by pop artist R. Crumb (recognized mostly for his serial work Fritz the Cat) she is influenced by modern animation like Ren & Stimpy, The Simpsons, and Futurama. She delves into subjects both benign—like the husband and wife bar owners—and provocative—like her series Neon Nakedity, which ran at LSJ Studios in 2017.
Lately, the couple has been exploring what they call “Twisted Disney” as an expression of creativity. Abigale made herself a claw-scarred Belle and her companion was a much scarier Beast than presented in films. She dressed as a successful and slightly blood-stained Cruella De Vil while Colin became a half-skinned, victimized dalmatian for Tellus 360’s Halloween party last year. Surprisingly, it was the couple’s first costume win.
Surprising. Yeah. I’m sure it won’t be their last.
Check out Abigale’s art on Instagram @webigalefortnum.