Desktop Icons: An Interview With Malene Barnett

Becoming an icon doesn’t happen overnight. It takes perseverance and drive. And knowing how you work best.

Creative connections and relationships inspire and fuel my own work, and they’re one of the key reasons I thrive in New York City. I interviewed a variety of creative friends about how they work – from what time of day they’re most productive to what are their biggest distractions and inspirations.

– Barry Goralnick

Malene Barnett


Barry Goralnick: How do to shape your future?
Malene Barnett: I’m constantly thinking about it, because I’m thinking about legacy. What do I want to leave? And I’m thinking about the Black community – and designers specifically. I just started The Black Artists and Designers Guild to really help create more visibility and opportunities for the designers. So, I’m thinking about how do we cultivate the next generation.

BG: Music on or off?
MB: On. I’ve gotta have my Reggae and Soca. And a lot of music from Central and West Africa.

BG: Current inspiration?
MB: The homes in the Kassena, which is in Northern Ghana. They paint their homes in these bold, graphic patterns.

Davy Desk Lamp (pictured here); Reeves Desk Lamp (pictured above): Barry Goralnick for Currey & Co.

BG: Favorite medium?
MB: Right now, I have to say it’s clay. It’s all about surface for me and how do I transform a surface. But, hey, it may change later. As an artist, I get bored. I want to be able to flow through different things. As humans, we are constantly developing, so I don’t feel that I have to stay in this one area.

BG: What do we have to look forward to from you next?
MB: Some exhibitions and speaking engagements: I’ll be speaking and exhibiting at NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts ) in Richmond, VA March 24-29. I’m presenting a photographic journey of the Kuli potters of Ghana on March 3. And I’m exhibiting in “Ceramics Now,” a group show opening July 10 at Jane Hartsook Gallery (19 Jones Street, NYC).

Photography by Maura Sullivan.

Click here to read more from the Desktop Icons series.

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