Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Joe Pagano’s love of nature and the outdoors brought him to rural
Pennsylvania in the early 1980's where he settled in the quaint, historic town of Wiconisco. Primarily a self-
taught artist and woodworker, Mr. Pagano's education credentials include the Streets of Brooklyn
University and the School of Hard Knocks, as well as an associate’s degree from Bond Business College, El
Paso, Texas. His 34+ years of service in the US Navy at Annapolis, Maryland and the Pennsylvania National
Guard round out his education and life experience and are the driving force behind the attention to detail
and outstanding craftsmanship that are the hallmarks of his creations.
After retiring from the military, Joe wanted to start doing art shows with his artist wife. He got the idea of
making rustic tables from a Christmas gift of a coffee table he received, but wanted his wife to paint small
images of wildlife on the tables. The table idea did not work out very well, but the idea of painting wildlife on
Building on his initial idea, Joe and Chris combined their areas of study of painting and woodworking to
create custom designed wooden plaques. The plaques are fashioned from vertical and bias cut hardwood
lumber that has been aged and kiln dried. Joe takes the rough cut lumber and then cuts, shapes and sands the
individual pieces to create a unique ‘canvas’ for Chris to paint and depict an original wildlife portrait or
scene. The pieces are sealed front and back with a satin polyurethane finish and fitted with heavy duty screw
eyes and wire on the back for hanging.
Joe tends to shy away from the limelight, choosing instead to focus it on his artist wife, Chris. He states that
he "has absolutely no artistic ability" after spending a lifetime in the military and , when asked about his
contribution to the business, states, "I drive the truck".
Chris Pagano spent most of her youth in the outdoors, hiking, fishing and observing wildlife. She began drawing
at an early age and naturally, her first subjects were animals. Her interest in animals and art grew during her
school years and she won many awards and contests for her paintings. She studied fine arts – painting at
Kutztown University and Texas Lutheran University. Along with her college training she has studied under
regionally known professional artists.
Chris has illustrated for Pennsylvania Game News and has designed several Pennsylvania Farmer Christmas
covers. She won the first Lehigh Valley Conservancy print and stamp contest with a painting of a great blue
heron. She has placed first in numerous decoy painting competitions and has won best-of- show awards at art
competitions in the eastern US. Chris has exhibited professionally in art shows and craft festivals in the Mid-
Atlantic region for the past 39 years.
Her solo gallery shows include- 1998 “Appalachian Images” ,2007 “Images of Land and Sea” and 2015
“Woodland Wings”, Gallery on the Square, Millersburg, PA and 2009 featured artist, Elizabethville Library
Series. She has taught “Painting and Drawing From Nature” classes at various times to groups of adults and
children at the Gallery.
She has illustrated the covers for the novels, “Dragon Alliance-Rise Against Shadow” and “Dragon Alliance-
Dark Storm” by J. Michael Fluck.
I have always drawn, ever since I can remember.
Some of my earliest recollections are of drawing get well cards with my crayons for my relatives and
neighbors. My grandparents were instrumental in my life’s choice to be an artist. They always had colored
pencils, pastels, charcoal or drawing pencils on hand for me to use when I came to visit. And they always
encouraged me to draw something. Much later in life, I learned that the art supplies they gave me to use when I
was a young child were originally those of my uncle, their son, who had hoped to be an artist too, but had been
killed during WWII in the Battle of the Bulge.
Artists are compelled to draw what they love and the love of my childhood was animals. I painted and drew
them every chance I got. And even as I grew older and into today, my passion in life is animals. I dearly love
them and have enjoyed painting and drawing them my whole art career. In my career as a professional wildlife
artist, I have specialized in detailed acrylic paintings of wild birds native to the Mid-Atlantic region. Most of my
ideas have come from observing the wildlife found in the woods, fields and waterways of our Central
The most important aspect of a painting is that the artwork is based on an original idea. An original idea is one
conceived of by the artist through something they have seen or experienced, felt or imagined. The ideas for my
paintings come from something I have seen and observed --- walking in the woods and noting the way the
sunlight plays through the trees, chancing upon a fox tracking across an open snowy field, a great blue heron
flying over a marsh that I see while driving, watching a cardinal in my backyard when I sip my morning coffee,
sitting with my cats as they lounge on the windowsill and seeing the way the afternoon sun plays over their
I am well known for my realistic wildlife and moody, impressionistic landscapes. My style of painting is
realistic, impressionistic and/or illustrative in nature, depending on the subject matter. All paintings,
regardless of style, are composed of long, graceful lines and bold, rich colors. I paint using acrylics on
Masonite, vintage handsaws that I find at flea markets and antique sales and vertical-cut Pennsylvania
hardwoods that have been chiseled, re-cut, sanded, shaped and finished by my husband and business partner,
Now, in “the autumn years of my life”, I’ve moved to town. And although my home is no longer in a wild or
rural environment, I still enjoy, observe and paint the many types of furry and feathery creatures who visit my
feeders, flowers, trees and shrubs in our yard and garden.
Being an artist is a blessing. I have been blessed to be able to earn a living from something I love; to get paid to
have fun. It’s been a wonderful life.
Walnut Street Studio is the brainchild of two local artists, Joseph and Chris Pagano. The studio is located in the
mountains of Central Pennsylvania in the scenic Lykens Valley and offers Chris’s acrylic wildlife originals painted
on Joe’s custom designed woodwork created from Pennsylvania hardwoods, wildlife originals on Masonite framed in
aged, weathered, repurposed lumber and hand painted vintage handsaws. Their work can be seen on their website,
www.walnutstreetstudio.com, and at the many art shows and craft festivals they exhibit at in the Mid-Atlantic
"The Old Man"
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Research and Development
No artist, or business, can function without the endless, invaluable, 'behind-the-scenes' work done by the
support staff. Our group is hardworking and faithful in all their endeavors. We greatly appreciate their
boundless enthusiasm, loyalty and all they do to improve the quality of our lives.