‘Sinner’ is the first work in Hirst’s series of ‘Medicine Cabinets’. He made the work whilst in his second year at Goldsmiths and named it after The Clash track ‘The Sound of Sinners’ (1980), sung by Joe Strummer.
‘Sinner’ is Hirst’s portrait of his grandmother, Eileen Brennan, taken through the drug packaging she left to him, on his request, on her death. Eileen played an important role in Hirst’s upbringing. He recalls: “She’d tell me that Father Christmas didn’t exist when I was really young, and was really kind of logical with me […] She promised that if ghosts exist she’d come back and haunt me. So I thought, after she died of lung cancer, obviously they don’t. And then, recently, I kind of thought, well, maybe they do, and she came back in a way that I don’t quite understand.”
 Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 22