not their cross to bear

by Art Chantry ( )

most of have never bothered to check out the christian (from here on referred to as “xtian”, like in “xmas”) publishing industry, but you really should. it’s one of the oldest, best financed, most massively huge and powerful crackpot subculture enterprises in america. all of us godless folks ignore this entire world, it even scares a lot of us. it scares ME. but, man, you are passing up an easy fat paycheck!

---ok, here's a interesting question for all of you: on this cover, which young man is the xtian?---

next time to spot a xtian bookstore or xtian record store, go in there and browse. you won’t believe your eyes! it’s astonishing. there are hundreds hundreds of publishers and hundreds of record labels and untold thousands of manufacturers, both big/corporate and tiny/cottage. it’s a really really really big businesses. did you know there is a xtian ‘top 40′ chart? i’ll bet most of us have never heard of most of the names of the artists on those charts, but they sell platinum with great regularity. they have huge sold-out tours all over the world. it’s really hard to describe how much MONEY passes through this niche market.

keep in mind for every single product in that store it needs a designer for it’s packaging. the xtian market for graphic design is very very hungry – largely because most mainstream designers won’t touch the stuff (too tacky or scary or creepy or whatever). they won’t stoop down to that level. their loss, because i know designers who have gotten RICH concentrating on the xtian market for their services.

you see, because most designers won’t ‘go there’, the quality of those that will is very low and amateur. xtian packaging always has this clumsy lame sort of thinking evidenced in the work. it has this sort of broken confused primitive feel to it. so, you don’t even have to be a very good designer to succeed in this turf. hook up with a xtian record company and you’ll likely get the opportunity to design hundreds of cd record covers, every one of them a learning curve, too. it’s a market full of trial-by-fire design education where you can fuck up royally – and nobody notices! as long as it sez ‘jesus’ on it somewhere, it looks great to them, ya know? and i’m not being snide. it’s really true. it’s a fanatic market.

look at this book cover. this designer/illustrator, joyce thimsen, has some real talent and some sophisticated moves. i mean, this thing looks pretty dang snappy. but, yet, it still has a huge ‘clunk’ factor to it. maybe it’s because she mixes styles so harshly inside the execution (that brush stoke swirl with the hard edge cartoon? man…) maybe it’s just the intense amateur color scheme? or the brilliantly punky lettering and layout? i don’t know, but it works beautifully while not working at all. that’s hard to fake, it’s real real honest work. this is what the best of xtian graphic design looks like. incredibly wonderful failures – over and over. and you think YOU can’t do that? sure, you can!

xtian publishers pay well (they’re not honest – but they CARE about you!) and they are hungry for better work to sell their product faster. i’ve been approached by many a church and whatnot (even done a few xtian record covers.) they’re happy to pay you what you ask because they have a guaranteed market and will sell it all eventually. people BUY this stuff out of devotion and xtian support for the cause. it all gets moved sooner or later (but sooner is better). investment is always returned – a great business model. the result is that some of the most dishonest crooked clients i’ve ever worked with eventually sank into the xtian publishing world. that’s when they cleaned-up (a duality in that word) and became extremely well-off sleazeballs. the hypocrisy is astonishing. but, all is forgiven. god sez so!

so, all you punk pagan secular ambitious greedy graphic designer copycats out there (and i know who you are!) get busy! times are tough? not making any money? worried about the payments on the mini-cooper and that condo and all that crack? hook up with a xtian publishing business. these be yer peeps! they’re US!


AC:well, taken from another perspective, he’s the guy with all the answers. he has all the confidence. therefore he KNOWS THE TRUTH!! and that is the xtian! (maybe)….besides, the brunette doesn’t have pagan sideburns. *CODE*…one last correction: when i referred to designer habits, i said ‘crack;&#

;. that’s old school. oxy is where it’s at nowadays. it’s legal….the blonde is more of a lost easy ‘mark’….put yourself in a xtian shoes. which would YOU rather look like? the timid scardy-cat nerdberger blonde? or the confident wise-ass slick brunette. reggie or archie?…is/was she a xtian? or and outsider making commentary as see see it? a quick buck artist or a true believer? so many factors to consider…

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