Bob and Julia Christian, Savannah Artists

Posted in John's Current Blog on September 29, 2015

September 29, 2015: Savannah, Georgia My “son” Scot Hinson has always been a clever lad. His latest idea, “Fans of Savannah Artists,” is a fun one. He’s commissioning Savannah artists to make original art that he is reproducing on “funeral fans.” In numbered editions of 100, the fans will be signed at receptions for the artists, with the original artwork for sale as well. The inexpensive fans are perfect souvenirs of the moss-draped city.

Bob and Julia Christian, whom I’ve known for over 40 years, are the first featured artists. The reception will be on Friday, October 9, from 5:30-7:30 at Scot’s shop in Savannah’s Design District. I first met Bob and Julia (née Stimpson) in Athens, Georgia, when I was in grad school, studying film, and Julia was a painting major. Bob was finishing art school in Atlanta and we would meet him and his brother Howard (who went on to work with Halston and Bunny Williams and who is now the Design Editor of Architectural Digest), along with their first cousin Sally Stafford (now Perez) in Atlanta to dance. We could easily take over any dance floor.  Sally and Julia and the Christian brothers may well have the best senses of humor of anyone I’ve ever known — and a profound sense of humor is my Number One criterion for friendship.

The Julia Christian Gallery in Savannah

I’ve also always been drawn to both Bob and Julia’s artwork. Never have I known more dedicated artists. They each paint or draw every day, unless they are on a rare vacation. After working for years as artists in New York, they moved to Savannah in 1982 to set up their studios and to raise their children. Julia’s work has graced my walls for years — figure/ground and color field studies that evoke the work of Milton Avery and Picasso’s neoclassic period. Since moving to Savannah this time last year, I can’t think of a single time that I have called or visited Julia that she wasn’t painting or drawing. You can visit the Julia Christian Gallery here in town (see photo, right) or online at Bob Christian Decorative Art.

Monkeys in Fountain, by Bob Christian

Bob worked for John Roselli in New York for years, where he sharpened his decorative painting techniques, before returning to Savannah to open his own shop 33 years ago. His painting styles are wide-ranging, from deceptively simple faux finishes to elaborate Orientalist motifs and his own mind-boggling fantasies. He has painted walls, floors, and ceilings in some of the nation’s finest homes. His work has been featured on the cover of dozens of magazines and in many books, including two by Suzanne Rheinstein.

I don’t know two more down-to-earth, kinder human beings. Do come to Scot’s shop on Friday, October 9th, and pick up a pile of their fans. I’ve seen them; they’re wonderful.

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