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Johnny Ray Huston

Imitation of Imitation of Life – detail | Paper collage | 2021

Artist Statement

The title and gem-encrusted visuals of Imitation of Imitation of Life nod to the credit sequence of Douglas Sirk’s classic 1959 melodrama Imitation of Life
On their surface, the visuals seem to celebrate the sheer splendor of coveted, near-impossibly expensive jewelry. But the bedrock beneath the hundreds of carefully hand-cut and spontaneously strewn paper jewels is formed by photocopied quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies. This free-floating, endlessly variable collage, with an ever-expanding number of pieces, touches upon — among other things — glamour, artifice, materialism, the unjust ruthlessness of capitalism, and the slow death of printed matter. An example of loose-leaf “floor art,” its ingredients can be rearranged and repurposed in the future.

Artwork/s at the following locations:
Collected Detroit

Artist Website + Social Media:
Instagram @johnnyrayhuston

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.