Meet Joel Barkow, Owner of Barkode Props.

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Each year, Joel rents to hundreds of art departments on film, TV, and commercial sets in the New York area. He has a unique style. Joel is such a heartfelt person who continuously adds a sense of play to his career. He loves collecting props pieces with a story and enjoys the back and forth collaboration in the renting process. He digs in and asks what you’re using the prop or set piece for, what exact era are you shooting in, and then somehow magically has that specific working TV from the 50s that you dreamed up. However, he didn’t start out his career renting props.

When he first moved to New York, he packed up his Mazda with his backpack, and 7 guitars — and then the car blew up. All he had was $35. A great start to New York.

He is a man of many talents and has worked all across the media world from radio to animation inking, working a Purple Rain Tour concert, and stagehand work in theater.

Next, Joel worked with a lot of different photographers and learned the art of tabletop photography. Joel would ask how they fabricated the pieces he saw on sets. This led to multiple jobs as an on-set dresser and assistant prop master, working on many music videos, features, and TV series.

He brought his passion for props to the set of Spin City where he got his first break as the Prop Master. Each week there was a press conference scene that had to be propped with video and still cameras which were hard to come by in NYC. It made him think: at the time a lot of equipment and art were housed in Los Angeles and the cost to ship it in every production was making New York productions even more expensive. Joel saw the opportunity and bought his first video camera as the start to his prop house, Barkode Props.

He started renting his props out of his garage. As he built up his kit, he continued to work on TV and film sets, within the art department.

After Spin City, he worked on Jason Alexander’s directorial debut set in the 1950s and Joel learned just how resourceful he can be. The set took over several streets in a residential part of Staten Island. There