Behind The Artworks: Greg Rekus - Sinners Go To Church Saints Go To Jail (2024)

“Sinners go to Church Saints go to Jail. The point I was trying to make with that title is that the world isn’t black and white. We aren’t just good and bad people, we are just people. Everyone is capable of doing nice stuff and doing evil stuff too. My partner Katie did the last album design for “Death and Taxes” and a bunch of t-shirt designs over the years. Despite us being in a relationship, I think she is an amazing artist and was the first person I thought of for the album design. I should think if she tells you about the album design”, explains Greg Rekus.

Katie comments: “When Greg first asked me to do the cover art, I said no because I’m not an artist in the professional sense of the term and also he asked me after I had just finished a huge event at work that took months to plan and I didn’t feel like diving into another commitment so soon. After I got some sleep, I felt pangs of guilt realizing that I had been a bit harsh, so asked him what he had in mind. He said a homeless man holding a cardboard sign that had the album title on it. That was just enough of a jumping-off point so I said fine and ran with it.

The man and the dog became the central focus. I’ve been asked if the dog is modelled after the RCA Victor dog, but no, that was just a coincidence. I wanted the man to have a quiet moment with a friend - he’s not asking for anything, he’s not proselytizing, he’s not even holding up the sign - he’s just sharing a moment. I think moments like these happen in any city, but they go unnoticed as the majority of people are just rushing through their own life stories. There’s a humanness to it all. The message on the sign is not being shoved in anyone’s face, it’s just being put out there, like any street pole advertisement. Much like the album and the songs themselves, the reader takes in the message and processes it how they will. I don’t think the man is bothered either way.

I’ve always leaned towards a more cartoonish style of drawing while also hyper-focusing on small details. Drawing inspiration from the album art for “Punkoustic”, I wanted to have a lot of little details incorporated into this scene. I didn’t get as much in there as I would have wanted, but I’m happy overall with how it turned out. Even in my home, I like to place small things in places that guests maybe don’t notice on the first or even second visit, but then one day they finally see it and they smile with the joy of discovery. If no one ever notices, then it’s just an Easter egg for me. There’s a few in there. My favorite is probably the hidden Rebel Spell show poster (RIP Todd Serious). I also included graffiti tags that represent each person in the band. I tried to be clever by including a QR code on the “Live Music Poster” that’s featured. It’s supposed to take you to Greg’s website where you can actually find his show dates in case you wanted to see some live music, but if you try it out and it doesn’t scan or takes you to some random porn site, I apologize.

My favorite moment from the album launch show was when someone asked me if the corner depicted was River and Osborne in Winnipeg. I was floored because, yes! That’s the closest bus stop to where we live, so every day after work I’d get off the bus and look at that corner. Eventually, I snapped a few pictures so I could re-create the perspective. Obviously, it’s not true to life as to what that corner looks like, but I appreciate that it was close enough that someone could pinpoint it. Catering to the Winnipeg crowd, there’s also a teeny-tiny Golden Boy for all to enjoy.

The entire front cover was drawn with an Apple pen in Procreate on my iPad. I’ve never done a fully digital drawing before - even with “Death and Taxes”, I had a pencil sketch that was scanned into the computer to finish it up. I chose to fill in everything with a brush resembling chalk just to play on the street theme a bit more. This also allowed the brown, cardboard base color to come through and tie everything together.

For the back cover, I had Greg pull out a huge, beat-up piece of cardboard that was in the back of his van. I laid it out on the floor and used a Sharpie to hand write all the tracks down. Snapped a photo and that’s about it. All other details were added in Procreate. Shout out to the person who didn’t like the font I used - jokes on them because I handwrote everything, so sorry but not sorry for my crappy penmanship. Also, I mean, come on - cardboard signs, handwriting, sharpies, chalk, street scene - it was a theme that I was sticking to.

Thanks to Greg for asking me to do the album art and the Inside Job for being cool with it. I’m happy that the art has been well received, but more importantly, I’m proud it was for an album that is just so incredibly awesome and powerful. Go give it a listen and continue supporting DIY musicians and your local arts and music scenes.”

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