James L. Rappa ~ Biography

I was born in Wilmington, Delaware in December 1953 and raised in Woodstown, NJ.  As a youth, I was drawn to the arts.  As a self-taught bass player, I formed my first band, The Satterfields, at the age of fifteen. I was also awarded the Southern New Jersey Young People’s Art Award for Painting at age 17.

In 1972, I enrolled in Syracuse University studying sculpture with Rodger Mack.  I earned my BFA in Sculpture in 1975.  In 1978, I studying with Jan Zach at the University of Oregon earning an MFA in Sculpture.

Shortly thereafter, I moved to New York where I worked with the architectural firm Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates.  My assignment was selecting the granite slabs  for the façade of the 43-story IBM Building at 590 Madison Avenue, NYC.  The job required me to relocate to Lac Megantic, Canada, a small town in the Quebec Province, for two years. When the assignment was over I returned to New York City and worked with Fox and Fowle Architects as an architectural field representative on three high rise projects in downtown Manhattan. From there I went on to design and build a series of private homes in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Canada.

In 1992 I became a partner, co-designer and builder of The Cooler, an eclectic music club in the historic Meat Packing District of New York. City.  Two years later, I co-designed and built a second successful music club, Baktun, also in the Meat Packing District.  The clubs featured music and live entertainment and were in operation for nearly 10 years.  

At that time I also worked with Lights in Motion International on a number of custom metal fabrication projects including the Motown Café record and radio tower project on West 57th Street.

In addition, I worked as a member of the art department on a variety of independent film and video projects.  While on assignment for a Queen Latifa music video project with Green Turtle Productions, I was given a minor acting role as a New York City cop searching through the night for an elusive underground party in the video Black Hand Side.

In 1999, I left New York and moved to Newmarket, New Hampshire where I was a bass player in an original rock band, Naked Groove.  In 2007, I moved to Deerfield, New Hampshire and opened JLR Studios.