Our Back Pockets is explicitly by-and-for queer people, but also includes products for those who are chronically and/or mentally ill, LGBTQ+ allies, non-monogamous, or simply a fan of quirky puns. Given the history of transmisogyny and racism in the LGBTQ community, I think it's also important to highlight that there is not a single "queer experience". As I expand my line I hope to represent the beautiful diversity of queer experiences.
At its heart, Our Back Pockets is about helping people create intentional community, so that we can all live honestly and openly in the ways that feel best to us.
When so much of the world is telling us to disappear, daily reminders of who we are and what we stand for become vital.
Hi there! My name is Erica Lockwell (she/her).
I am an artist and illustrator. As a former archaeologist, I an interested in how little things, like how we adorn ourselves or the ephemera we exchange, influence and create culture as a whole. I’m also queer!
Often LGBTQ+ experiences are either sensationalized or infantalized, but I endeavor to reflect queer life in a way that is diverse, honest, welcoming, and warm.
I start most of my designs by hand. I like to pair the subtleties of watercolor with bold linework and the application of digital tools. By depicting complex content in a cozy aesthetic, I hope to both normalize and cherish a range of experiences.
The name Our Back Pockets in part references the practice of ‘flagging’ among gay men in the San Francisco leather scene of the 1970s. In this system, wearing a handkerchief in your back pocket let other men know that you were interested in hooking up. The color of bandana as well as which pocket it occupied signaled different interests, and could get quite involved.
The hanky code is now a well-known aspect of queer history, but it is just one example of how throughout time queer people of all flavors have devised ways to find each other while safely flying under the mainstream radar. Lesbians in the 1940s sported nautical star tattoos on their inner wrist. The triangle used to persecute homosexuals and other “asocial” troublemakers under the Nazi regime has been reclaimed as a symbol of queer identity and resistance. Today we routinely rely on the little things to recognize our own: a haircut, a rainbow sticker, a strategically placed identity pin.