Contributing ( Lifestyle ) Writer - Sonja Mattison
Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, Gregory Christie has a proven track record with expressing his array of skills and talent through his eye-catching illustrations. His work has been recognized by reputable organizations such as the NAACP with The Image Award, the American Library Association with the Coretta Scott King Award Honor and Caldecott Honor, and The N.Y. Times- Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award
His work consists of a combination of abstraction, realism, and figurative art. The majority of his work consists of children book illustrations. He has more than 60 illustrated publications including Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshal by Vaunda Michaeux Nelson and Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler.
He As a master of his work, he chooses to share with others through education. He shows the youth and adults how to develop and hone in on their skills and talents in his store GAS ARTS GIFTS in Decatur, Georgia.
Gregory has had a perpetual career since inception. As a natural, he fostered his knowledge by attending School of Visual of Arts in New York City, New York. From effort to expertise, Gregory has made an extraordinary success.
I had an opportunity to speak with him and ask a few questions to find out about his established legacy.
Besides the fact that you have an innate ability for you art, what motivated you to focus on children’s books?
Quite simply, I want to help keep the balance in the current school curriculum. If people learn about George Washington, then they should also know the story of Toussaint Louverture. If Emily Dickinson is being taught, then so should Phyllis Wheatley. At the end of the day I am motivated to focus on subject matters and books that should have been in my hands as a child.
Do you have a message that you would like to convey to your audience through your work?
It’s two fold for me, in one sense I do historical books because I want the future generations of color to understand that they come from a culture that is not only defined by American slavery. Secondly, I want to bridge various cultures through human experiences. I feel that cultures differ, but human nature is somewhat universal.
What would you like to improve, or do you consider yourself such a master that you find no improvement needed?
Everybody needs improvement and I feel that you can grow immensely through life experiences. I often struggle with time management and discipline, these things aren’t my strong point so I manage them and take things day by day.
What do you love most about your work?
It’s mine, it’s unique and the idea that the images are in libraries and school makes me feel as though it’s a legacy; one that will help people.
Could you see yourself doing anything else?
Yes, as much as I love doing what I do, I also am curious about life and other cultures. I hope to continue traveling.
By Sonja Mattison