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Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Versatile artist & sculptor, Joe Gagnepain, poses with his life-size-plus giraffe soon to be at home in Oak Park, Illinois

Not many people can take an assemblage of gears, gadgets, and gee-gaws to construct a life-size, life-like giraffe. But, St. Charles, IL artist, muralist, and sculptor, Joe Gagnepain can. In fact, the life-size giraffe he welded was recently purchased by a developer in Oak Park to erect for all to see on Oak Park Avenue.

It’s yet another dot he can add to his own map of public art projects he has around the Chicago area. See the “click” below to access Joe’s art tour map.

Anyone strolling along the St. Charles Riverwalk near Pottawatomie Park has probably stopped by the stunningly realistic fox Joe created alongside the river bank. Anything but life-size, it is almost dinosaur-like in intensity quickly commanding attention of those walking by. Again, he used an impressive array of metallic odds and ends to form a beautifully proportioned, easily recognizable creature. Even the fox’s eyes glint shaped from material that resembles old-fashioned driveway reflectors.

“The parts I find and that people give me, help determine the shape of what I make,” Joe explains. “It does soon pile up, though, and my random collection of stuff can look like a big mess to others.” Ahh yes, a perfect example of one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Joe started drawing as a toddler going on to study art at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and also at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He enjoys working with a vast variety of materials that encompass everything from paints and wood to metal and more.

When it comes to murals, Joe designs for both residential and business clients. Many of his exterior murals are familiar to Fox Valley residents such as those seen on the outside of Jalapeno Grille is St. Charles or the Riverside Receptions sign in Geneva.

Stolp Island Social, a relatively new restaurant in downtown Aurora at 5 E. Galena Blvd. is the site of an interior mural themed to times past. It was once the location of the Block & Kuhl department store dating back to the 1920s. Still other indoor business murals can be found inside the St. Street Diner and Graham’s Chocolates in Geneva or Club Arcada in St. Charles.

If you’re looking for an easy public art tour this Fall, click here for a map of all the public spots Joe’s art can be found. Enjoy the ride!

Learn more about Joe and his artwork at:

Interior Mural at Club Arcada in St. Charles, IL


PRIVATE RESIDENCE for dinosaur-loving clients!

SCULPTED FOX Along the St. Charles, IL Riverwalk

On the popular St. Charles, IL Jalapeno Grille Joe painted murals around the entire building!

Jalapeno Grille

Jalapeno Grille -- East-facing exterior wall


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