A few weeks ago I happened upon a beach party. It was in the parking lot of Ponyride, a Corktown warehouse that provides studio/work space for artists and entrepreneurs. Little did I know that Another Detroit is Happening was the reason why a DJ was spinning sweet tunes while people danced around bonfires surrounded by tents all atop a generously poured parking lot full of sand.
The conference was an invitational only, weekend long event that brought together 100+ innovative thinkers from all over North America. That is nor here or there for this story because I was not among the invitees and was literally just looking for a good time.
However, my “good time” was rudely interrupted by my curiosity and instead of grabbing a beer I decided to investigate my surroundings. That’s when I met Paul. Humble, brilliant and talented, Paul.
Paul Karas is actually only 20 years old but the only evidence of his young age exists in his modesty for his wood work. As I was peeping around, I found his impressive work station which consisted of tools that intimidated me a little bit (which is probably why I was so impressed). On top of the saw dusted table tops, were these wood pieces that had these curves and contours that were so, there’s no better way to say it, seductive.
As my friends and I were creeping around the unattended work station, Karas walked in and as we asked questions he was more than happy to not just tell us about what he does but what Ponyride does as well.
Karas always loved working with wood and his hands. When he was 8 year-old, he made a wood canoe for his grandma. However, that love and his knack for taking things a part and rebuilding them distracted him from the idea of design and it wasn’t until after high school that he realized that element to creating products. When Karas began making his own bass guitars out of wood and decided to study this as a career, he found it surprisingly unfulfilling due to the fact that the design aspect was missing. It wasn’t until he began his course work in product design at College for Creative Studies, that he began to feel as though he was on the right path.
What excites me most about Karas’ work (i.e. furniture, sculptures, pipes, boxes, guitars, etc) is that it is already so developed and interesting that I can’t even imagine where his skill and vision will be in 10 years to come.
After the party and later that week, I paid Paul another visit (poor guy), to get some extra details about his story. “So what piece or project has your focus right now?
“Well, I just started working on this Mac Book cover made from leather…”
He began to explain something that seemed new, experimentation-al and maybe a little faulty but when he showed me the actual product, it blew my mind. It was stitched beautifully (thanks to help from his co-inhabitant Detroit Denim) and was not only functional but aesthetically cool. Long story short, I want one.
Karas’ work can be seen on Facebook under the name Paul P Karas Designs.