When walking into an art gallery, a picture of yourself is probably the last thing you’d expect to see. However, that will be exactly what 30 Spartanburg residents will see Thursday during the opening reception of Sketchy Portraits at The Art Lounge, 500 E. Main St, Spartanburg.
"Sketchy Portraits" is the latest project of Spartanburg artist Bailie of Bailie Studios, the vice president of the Artists' Guild of Spartanburg. The show is comprised of 30 quickly-rendered pencil sketches of the artist’s friends and colleagues, none of whom know if they are included in the show.
The drawings are based on photo references, many of which came from the Facebook pages of the subjects.
“I got the idea last year sometime, the end of the summer, and so I went looking through Facebook, and I wrote down a bunch of people that I wanted to do, most of them because they had interesting pictures.” Bailie said.
Bailie chose some photos based on aspects of the subject’s style — one because of the woman’s unique hat, another for the subject’s trademark beard. Others were chosen because of the way the camera altered the person’s real-life appearance.
“I went to their page and just rolled through their profile pictures and went ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ You know, somebody’s face was, like, convex, it was real up in the camera, like a fisheye lens or something,” Bailie said. “The composition of their picture is what drew me in to do each one of these pictures.”
Some of the people represented in the show are familiar faces from downtown, including local tattoo artists, restaurateurs, and other business owners.
"Sketchy Portraits" is a break from Bailie’s usual style.
“I’m generally a painter. I do murals all over town, abstracts, surrealism. I’m usually a pretty serious painter, but this was just fun,” he explained, “I like to do things that no one else does and always pull something out of the hat, like this.”
All of the portraits are available for purchase during Spartanburg Art Walk at The Art Lounge from 6-9 p.m. Thursday. The exhibit will run through April 10. Bailie noted that the event is a great opportunity to get a piece of his work.
“You can just come in and scoop them up. Thirty bucks, where are you gonna get a Bailie for 30 bucks?” he said.
Bailie encouraged everyone to attend the reception, even if they think they won’t be in the show. He hopes that the portraits cause viewers to reconsider their assumptions about the way they’re seen.
“There’re people paying attention to them, whether they think they are or not,” he said, "I hope it makes somebody go ‘Wow, he thought enough of me to do my picture!’ Maybe that’s what they need to make their day.”