Polk County artist to draw portraits in storefront window during Tryon’s Fourth Friday event

Published 10:28 am Thursday, September 15, 2022

During Tryon’s monthly Fourth Friday downtown event on Friday, Sept. 23, Polk County artist Janet Orselli will be quickly drawing volunteers’ faces as part of a future exhibition that she is working on. She will set up in the storefront window of Upstairs Artspace, Tryon’s contemporary art gallery, from 5 to 7 p.m. Each drawing will take five to 20 minutes, and she might take photographs of volunteers so that finishing touches to the portraits can be added later. All of the drawings will stay with Orselli, who is gathering materials for a future exhibition. She will be using graphite/charcoal pencils, ink pens, oil pastels, vine charcoal, and kneaded eraser.

“My main focus when drawing people is on capturing an expression or essence rather than a traditional portrait,” Orselli said. “Also of importance to me is the personal connection formed with each individual through the act of drawing them. The goal is for completed drawings to be presented in a local exhibition.”

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“We are so glad to have Janet in our window on Fourth Friday drawing people,” Gallery Manager Steve Wong said. “It should be a lot of fun for everyone and give Janet materials for her future exhibition. The public will be able to see her at work and see some of the finished or nearly finished portraits. Who knows, your face might be one of her award-winning portraits.”


As a multidisciplinary artist, Orselli creates sculptures and assemblages, drawings, and site-specific installations. Her drawn portraits have a reputation for capturing the person’s personality, giving more depth to the image. Her whimsical found-objects seek to stir the viewer’s imagination and resurrect past artifacts with a future filled with meaning. Orselli holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Clemson University. She has been chosen for artist residencies at Anderson Ranch, CO; Spring Island, SC; and Kaiserslautern, Germany. She has received three NC Artist Project Grants and a national Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship. Orselli has exhibited internationally and had more than a dozen solo exhibitions including OK Harris Works of Art in New York City and the Gibbs Museum in Charleston, SC. Her work is featured in the book 100 Southern Artists. She was selected as the fall 2018 Artist-in-Residence at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC, where she completed work for a solo show in 2019.

Upstairs Artspace is a contemporary art gallery located at 49 S. Trade St. in downtown Tryon. It will be open during September’s Fourth Friday for the public to see the current three exhibitions: Carefully Placed Lines on Paper by Tryon architect John Walters; Human Connections by LA artist Catherine Baumhauer and Rock Hill, SC, artist Caroline Rust; and The Thinking Eye by Asheville artists Jeff Kinzel, Martha Skinner, Ralston Fox Smith, and Kevin Hogan. The Gallery is routinely open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit their website, UpstairsArtspace.org.


Submitted by Steve Wong