I'm not egotistical enough to assume that anyone wants to read about me, but, for those good people who do, here we go.
I grew up in the 1970's in the urban epicenter of Detroit, Michigan. That time period and neighborhood shaped my tastes and style forever. It seemed like everyone in my neighborhood was cool. My mailman, Mr. Frye, was so cool that he used to put down the bag and play basketball with us at the outdoor courts. And he could hoop. I remember telling my parents that I wanted to be Mr. Frye when I grew up.
If you didn't have some juice in 1970's Detroit, then you got swallowed up. I never wanted to be a guy who just fit in and looked or acted like everyone else. I was one of the first kids to bleach my hair blonde and wear earrings and get a tattoo. I was also the class clown, who would risk anything for the laughs. As a result, I was in the principal's office more than the principal's secretary. The only thing that saved me with school was that academics always came easy for me, and the teachers and principals saw a lot of potential in me even though they probably hated me.
As a kid in lower-middle class Detroit, I never had much of a life plan. First, I wanted to be Mr. Frye, the cool mailman. Then, I just wanted to be a baseball player. When I realized that baseball wasn't going to work out for me professionally around age 16, I had to come up with some sort of plan. All I knew at that point in life was that I just wanted out of Detroit. It was too gray and too cold and dank for me.
While watching Miami Dolphins football games on TV, I used to marvel at the swaying palm trees, bright sunshine, and fans in t-shirts and shorts in January. The idea of being there was intoxicating to a young John Pape. I'd never been to Florida in my life, but it was calling me. So, as a 16 year-old high school junior, I applied to the University of Miami in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida.
Shortly thereafter, as a 17 year-old high school graduate, I made the journey down to Coral Gables for the first time in my life with a suitcase and an open mind. I've been in South Florida ever since.
Of course, a lot happened in the interim. I attended and graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with the highest honor of Summa Cum Laude, was recruited by and worked briefly for the biggest law firm in South Florida, then went out on my own with a couple different law partners and practiced law for the next 25 years.
I'm still a practicing attorney in Florida, but around 10 years ago I found that I needed a release for this constant burning creative fire that I've always had inside me. So, I decided to start making things that I thought would be bring smiles to peoples' faces and elicit conversations. I wanted to be a force of joy in the world. I envisioned people wearing my jewelry at the grocery store or at a party and feeling like they had the coolest, most unique accessory in the world. And that would spur conversations with others. Good conversations about art and accessories and fun stuff.
So, that's where I am now. Same guy, who grew up wanting to make everyone laugh in Detroit and getting in boatloads of trouble trying to achieve that goal. Now, I can spread that joy by being good to my customers and sending them the best pieces that I can make. I'm always available to chat about my work or anything else. Just go to the Contact section, and send me an email.