The Chicago Project IV: TJ Proechel

Our current exhibition, The Chicago Project IV, ends next week, so get in here and see the show! In the meantime, enjoy three images by Chicago Project artist, TJ Proechel, along with his artist statement.

11th Ave, West Saint Paul, MN, 2008

Dream House explores the foreclosure crisis that is affecting Minnesota.  Throughout my working life I’ve been a housing contractor. Returning to the Twin Cities, after graduating from college, I decided to take up this work again in order to make a living.  However, most of the contracting work I had done in the past was no longer available due to the financial crisis. Because of this, I took a job as an REO  housing contractor fixing up and maintaining foreclosed homes for local realtors and national banks. This vantage point has given me a rare opportunity, not only to see the effects of the financial crisis, but also to be intimately enmeshed within it. Starting last October I began photographing the houses I worked in. As I continued to work as a contractor, I met more and more people who were either going through a foreclosure or had been foreclosed upon.

What’s most remarkable about working inside the foreclosure crisis, is seeing it’s breadth. Although, the crisis has hit the poorest in Minnesota the hardest, I have met people of every economic level who have been foreclosed upon.  Dream House is an attempt to portray the national foreclosure crisis as seen through the eyes of individuals experiencing it. It displays images of things lost and left behind and captures the stories of individuals on all economic levels transitioning through foreclosure. The project also attempts to deal with the larger existential question the financial crisis has forced our nation to deal with, specifically our materialist national identity and as well as my own personal involvement within the foreclosure crisis.

—TJ Proechel

Virginia Ave., Saint Paul, MN, 2008
23rd Ave., Minneapolis, MN, 2008