Enter the North DeKalb Mall where Lawrenceville Highway splits from Stone Mountain Parkway in Decatur. Do not be deterred by the off-brand tracksuits, shuttered food stalls or the clearance sale signs cluttering the windows. Keep looking and you’ll find Gas-Art Gifts, the bright gem of a shop owned by artist and children’s book illustrator R. Gregory Christie.
The brilliant hues of his art punctuate the simple white space. On display are nearly two decades of boundary-pushing illustrations, ranging in subject from the angry face of an enslaved Sojourner Truth to the gangly limbs of a young girl walking on stilts. Featuring bold brush strokes and bright colors, Christie’s paintings contain intimations of his influences: Romare Bearden, Picasso, Jacob Lawrence. He plays with form and color, mixing realism, abstraction and folk art in a single piece.