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Jim Luckey

Coming Out The Closet 2 | 34″ x 33″ | Reversible Pants, black eyelet/pink jacquard | 2022

Artist Statement

For a gay person embarking on a journey of self-discovery, our true identity is an unknown, frightening terra incognito. The process of coming to grips, accepting and inhabiting that; of coming out of our self-imposed closet; is anxiety-ridden and awkward. There is no template, no how-to-do-it in a seamless way. These pants are an attempt to express the process of coming out of the closet, and the emotions that are incited by it. In our initial state of identity confusion, we fabricate a persona that approximates a socially acceptable-straight-identity. Outwardly everything may appear to be fine.
Wearing that fabricated identity however is uncomfortable; there is something unknown or unacknowledged inside. That artificial persona doesn’t express the complexity and richness of our true identity. As we become more self-aware, more self-actualized and acknowledge our genuine self; a completely different reality appears. Our interior reality, our genuine selfness in all its drama and idiosyncrasy becomes manifest. The machinations we fabricated to camouflage ourselves is relegated to memory; our internal history. Interestingly, the act of making these pants in small part mirrored my coming out. Never having contemplated or attempted making a fully reversible pair of pants, was worried and tentative of the unknown process. I made mistakes and had to undo work in order to move forward. My frustration and anxiety required that I move slowly to move forward successfully.
The two fabrics, representing alternative personas, were challenging to work with -they worked differently, one was slippery, one was stretchy, black thread on back fabric was difficult to see.
How to orchestrate a reversible zipper that appeared to be a conventional placket became completely unexpected on the other side. Throughout almost the entire fabrication process I wasn’t sure it would work out… until Voila it did! And I was very happy having succeeded.

Artwork/s at the following locations:
Anton Art Center
Norwest Gallery

MR/QD Is Made Possible BY

Artists stipends made possible by Kresge Arts in Detroit

For details and more info on making a contribution to Mighty Real/Queer Detroit, please contact us at

About MR/QD

Mighty Real/Queer Detroit is an art exhibition in June 2022 devoted to 77 years (1945-2022) of Detroit LGBTQ+ art 

The exhibition presents a month-long historical examination of the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and its longtime allies, featuring established & emerging Detroit artists, as well as artists whose careers were shortened by HIV/AIDS.

Mighty Real/Queer Detroit is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to promoting positive and meaningful images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through artistic and intellectual means. © 2023. All Rights Reserved.