Bob Bond, a Lee’s Summit veritable artist in residence, has wowed such iconic personalities as Liberace, Barbara Streisand, Cher, Derrick Thomas, Elvis Presley, Burt Reynolds, Elton John and Batman! His canvas is not only paper, but the doors, hoods, bumpers and bodies of vehicles, safes, time capsules and a lot more.
Bond is a self-professed, award-winning “Pinhead” in the freehand paint pinstriping world.
“I started striping bugs for a dealer in Van Nuys and ended up with Car Dealers all over southern California and dealers up to San Francisco,” Bond says. “My original plan A was to go to work at Disney’s Burbank Studios, but I decided I didn’t want to paint cells all day. Then I went to Hannah Barbera for an interview. Plan B was to be a technical illustrator, and by age 21, I could see the drawings in my mind just by looking at the blueprints.”
He opened his pinstriping shop in 1970 amidst a slew of competition, but explained he ran his shop like a business. His proximity to Beverly Hills offered unique opportunity, as did his association with Christy’s of Hollywood. This is where he decided this life of steady hand and creativity was to be his chosen profession.
His resume shines like a who’s who, with many bright spots. One was being the first to put a photograph on a T-shirt for the LA Lakers. And meeting George Barris, who built the six original Batmobiles and the Batcycle, was definitely a coo.
“I painted those for him,” says Bond.
He visited Barbara Streisand’s home to paint her initials on her 1914 Rolls Royce. Also, Vincent Price and Zsa Zsa Gabor utilized his artistic talent, as did Andy Griffith, who he says was incredibly sweet and down to earth.
“When he called the house, my wife freaked out,” says Bond. “Jen knew his voice but couldn’t figure out who it was until I said, ‘Hi Andy.’”
Why the move to the Midwest?
“We lived in a house that was custom built for Doris Day, on ¾ of an acre, with orange and olive groves. I was doing a lot of traveling and thought we needed to go someplace in the middle. Plus, the Northridge earthquake did do a whole lot of damage, which was fixed, but enough is enough. And there was a lot of violence there. I went to Indianapolis for a trade show, and my wife, Jennifer, called a realtor and our house sold and we had four days to find a house! We drove by this house on Colbern Road as the owner was putting the for sale sign out and bought it.”
He has shared his imaginative skills at lectures in trade shows across the country, including the Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles, and will be lecturing at the Kansas City Automobile Museum in the near future. He is currently publisher/editor of AutoArt International Magazine, which showcases those who excel in this coveted art.
He definitely notes that without his wife, Jennifer, of 37 years, he would not be where he is today.
“She came into my shop to get her car striped, and I used the money she paid me to take her to dinner that night,” says Bond. “The next day, I wrote her a poem and delivered it to her at work with some roses. She worked at Sweet and Low in San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. All the ladies loved it, and she did too!”
They have four grown children, which Bond proudly shares, “All the kids have a gift of some kind.”
Bond is pleased with the four seasons he and his family experience in the Midwest, however does become dreamy when remembering his surfing days as a youth.
Suffice it to say, when the phone rings in his shop, it could be to paint a fire engine, paint a red stripe on a T-bird, personalize the door of a safe or add pizzazz to a Corvette.
“I look back over 40 plus years and think of the people who have told me I’ve changed a lot of lives,” Bond says. “It seems when we moved here, we were the pebble that started waves of family to follow us. It’s a fun life.”
Discover more of Bond Bond’s creative legacy by visiting bobbondart.com.