Chloe Barcelou (@chloebarcelou) is perhaps best known for her tiny house, a handmade Tudor on wheels, which regularly racks up hundreds of likes on Instagram. But inside the little abode, the 29-year-old creative is dreaming up larger-than-life projects, like otherworldly photo shoots and fanciful sets. The Globe chatted with her about her work.
Q. You posted about a prop your fiance designed for a music video being used for “Little Women” when they filmed in Boston. How did that happen?
A. The music video was for this local artist, Manny X. They wanted to do this speakeasy, so we were working really hard on that. I think we put that together in seven days, but we had no budget for it. Literally, we were not given any money. We were just given access to this prop house, which was fantastic. The warehouse was essentially empty except for a couple random pieces of wood and a shelf. Before I know it, [my fiance] is whipping up this barrel stand and we’re staining it at the 11th hour.
After we were done [with the video], we were like, “We don’t really want to throw it away.” So they’re like, “Oh, we’ll donate it to the prop guy.” And then I’m thinking, in the back of my head, “This guy doesn’t want this piece of junk,” but we did anyway. It sat in his basement for years, and then I guess “Little Women” came through and he told me the last time I saw him, “I had to let you know about the designers from ‘Little Women.’ They were obsessed with this barrel stand.” And he was like, “You know they wouldn’t have had two-by-fours back then” but they wanted it anyway, so they took it.
Q. What is it like seeing your visions brought to life with these shoots?
A. These little moments that happen in the photographs, they only happen in real life for a short period of time. I’ve lived at government poverty level for so long, kind of just scraping, paycheck to paycheck. In these photo shoots where I’m either borrowing items or making items or whatever, it’s like I get to have the thing permanently, forever, even though I don’t. I’ve been able to borrow couture clothes that I would love to actually have in real life, but I can’t because they’re too expensive. And then by the time I’m done and I’m bored with the photo, I’m like, “Good thing I didn’t buy that dress!”
Q. There’s a piece on your account where you’re in a wedding dress and you say you’ve “renewed your vows to art.” What does that mean to you?
A. I started doing photo shoots when I was 13 or 14, where my friends would sleep over and we would just be like, “Oh, let’s take pictures.” There was this great sense of freedom of being able to create whatever your heart desires. And for a long time, I was able to hold onto that and my relationship with art was very much this self-expression. As the pressure grew and more and more people started to pay attention . . . I put this self-imposed expectation on myself that everything I made had to be greater than the last thing that I made. I just felt very detached from my creativity. I thought [with this shoot] I’m going to really use this opportunity to dig into myself and my psyche. Just like any marriage, your art takes work and it takes dedication and time and effort and love. I kind of feel like I am in a marriage with my art.Interview was edited and condensed. Jenni Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.