T Magazine: The Privilege of Mediocrity

Adam Bradley, T The New York Times Style Magazine, September 30, 2021

For creators of color, the perceived need to be exemplary can be artistically stultifying. Instead, true freedom may lie in being allowed to be fine — or to fail

Adam Bradley | September 30, 2021


To accompany this essay, T commissioned a pair of original works by the Portland, Oregon-based artist Dana Paresa and Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock.


The Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock’s “Torpedoboy and His ‘Just So’ Moment” (2021).


“As a Black creative, I’ve always been told that I must do more than my best just to be visible or have my ideas considered,” he says. “By centering on the life of a Black superhero, Torpedoboy, who fails miserably at his job of serving and protecting, I pose the question, ‘What if Black excellence itself had an identity crisis?’ Torpedoboy imagines what it might be like to be just good enough or just so. … The rest of the world isn’t ready to handle such a situation, and Torpedoboy’s mediocrity gives way to an empty space. Perhaps this space is a good place to start over.”

of 260