Archetypes: Susan Barrett
An interview with Susan Barrett, artist, clothing designer, self-declared “recovering architect” and the director of the World Chess Hall of Fame. Before the World Chess Hall of Fame, Barrett worked on every side of the artistic spectrum—from gallery to publishing to creating her own works. Her experiences have proven to be the perfect setting for the career she never planned. Her visionary outlook and rule-breaking style have helped Barrett push the World Chess Hall of Fame into unexpected places.
What is your current frame of mind? Expansive.
When and where are you happiest? At home in bed with my husband, kids and dogs, watching an old movie.
What is your favorite smell? ’61 Bordeaux.
What is one word that describes you? Enthusiastic.
What did you eat for breakfast today? Cookies and tea.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Right side, left side.”
What is your most marked characteristic? My wardrobe.
What is your greatest weakness? My shoes.
What trait do you most admire in others? Kindness.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Cary Grant.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be more organized.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being a mom and being a part of bringing chess to St. Louis.
Which living person do you most admire? Bob Dylan.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Frida Kahlo.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would it would be? A shaman.
What is your most treasured possession? My house.
What is your greatest fear? Not getting everything accomplished.
On what occasion do you lie? If it spares someone pain.
Who are your favorite writers? Jeanette Winterson, William Burroughs and Harper Lee.
Who is your favorite designer? McQueen.
Who are your favorite musicians? Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell.
Which artists do you admire most? Gordon Matta Clark, Alice Neel and Basquiat.
What is your favorite hobby? Painting.
Where would you like to live? Manhattan and Paris.
Who are your heroes in real life? My parents.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? Oh no! You know how much I love dinner parties, so can I? Cary Grant, Frida Kahlo, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Benicio Del Toro.
What’s something interesting that you just learned? Multiple definitions of violence and the various impacts they have.
What are you most looking forward to? The Hip Hop Symposium we are doing at the World Chess Hall of Fame, and our archetypes show in chess and fashion.
What is one thing you wish would happen? I wish Jay-Z would call me back.
What is something you still want to learn? Italian.
What is one thing you want to do before you die? I want to have my paintings in a museum show.
If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be? Invest in Apple, and buy that studio in Tribeca.
Susan Barrett World Chess Hall of Fame
Photo credit: Wesley Law