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Wisconsin Folks

Dennis O'Donnell

“Junque” Farm Sculptures
Frederic, WI

“He’ll make a nice whatever-it-is.”
Dennis O’Donnell. Photo by Lewis Koch.Cowboys, cacti, bugs, fish, and geese—all made from scrap metal. Dennis O’Donnell was a dairy farmer until making junque art replaced his dairy cows. “Junque art” is what he calls the objects he makes from old parts.

Dennis didn’t set out to have a career as an artist. He was a third-generation dairy farmer in Polk County. At first junque art was his hobby. He liked to experiment in his farm shop with scrap pieces of metal. One day he noticed that a piece of old moldboard from a plow looked a lot like the body of a goose. He welded the moldboard piece with other scrap machine parts, and sure enough, they made a fine looking goose. People in his community started remarking about his art. They were delighted by hisTalk icon creations, so they began to drop off pieces of metal for him to use. Listen to Dennis talk about his art. You can read along by clicking here.

Today, Dennis gets old machine parts from his own farm, farmers that live near by, and suppliers who go to auction sales to buy certain parts Dennis requests. 

Dennis displays his work in several galleries in Wisconsin. Many people from the Twin Cities in Minnesota buy his junque art from these galleries, but Dennis also likes to give away pieces as gifts to people in his community.

Dennis has the amazing ability to turn junk into junque art.

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Frederic, Wisconsin (Polk County)

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