Reading Between the Lines
Central Library, Youth Wing
Reading Between the Lines by R. Gregory Christie
Although I enjoy painting all ethnicities, my focus in children's books is to depict distinctive images of brown people. I choose to illustrate manuscripts that shed light upon historical figures and give a sense of dignity to the many cultures on this planet. The disproportionate compositions and elongated figures challenge the viewer to break away from the established belief that all children's books must be realistic or cute.
I see every manuscript as an opportunity to explore the emotional ranges within the text. Some of my books are endearing while others are a bit tougher, like the biographies that recount historical events and circumstances. I feel that "tough" books have their place in the spectrum of children's books because they prepare readers for the reality of the life ahead of them. When approaching the subject matter and style of my books, use your own judgment to decide which speaks to you visually, but also know that I adapt my style accordingly. I encourage you as the viewer to embrace each book as its own single part of a whole body of work.
The work showcased in this exhibition also includes art that has been created outside of my children's book assignments. It's the result of my aspiration to continually grow as an artist by trying new techniques and mediums.
R. Gregory Christie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in media arts from New York City's School of Visual Arts in 1993. Within a few years his work graced the covers of numerous jazz labels from all over the world. His skill soon earned him the opportunity to paint for The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children, winner of a Coretta Scott King Honor Award and a Reading Magic Award from Parenting magazine. He has also received two New York Times Certificates of Excellence for his work in Only Passing Through and Stars in the Darkness. Currently a regular contributor to The New Yorker, he continues to paint album covers and produce work for magazines and publishing companies in his Brooklyn studio.