Pinstriping isn’t just for tacky blazers, and airbrushing isn’t just for the state fair.

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Pinstriping isn’t just for tacky blazers, and airbrushing isn’t just for the state fair.

And you thought airbrushing was condemned to shopping malls and the state fair.

Bob Bond is keeping alive the old-school trade of pinstriping and airbrushing on automobiles. From his Blue Springs shop, he kicks out cartoon mascots, antique gold-leaf restoration and hot-rod graphics, all by hand. (Anyone wanting to embellish a new cruiser with some ghost flames should consult the B section of the White Pages immediately.) Over the past 35 years, the California transplant has been commissioned by Hollywood stars like Annette Funicello, Bob Hope and Andy Griffith, and fire departments across the country have employed him to restore the ornamentation on their historic engines.

Bond's first attempt at painting on flat canvases is now on display in the neon-filled lobby of the New Theatre Restaurant. The theater's production of Grease is sold out, but that shouldn't prevent anyone from checking out Bond's work.

For this exhibition, Bond had to translate his work into a format that could be shown on the lobby's small wall space. "When [New Theatre managers] came to see if my artwork was what they were looking for, I could tell they were somewhat disappointed," he says. "They discovered that, although I'm an artist, I didn't have artwork to sell. That's because I've always painted my art on client's vehicles, motorcycles, antiques, homes, boats, etcetera. When I'm done painting it, it leaves the shop."

But Bond was up for the challenge. "I decided to try and paint something I've never attempted before: duplicating custom paint, chrome and gold plating on paintings." He stuck to the automotive subject matter he knew best, even using clear coat on top of a few pieces to replicate the gloss of a freshly painted classic vehicle.

Still, many pinstripe enthusiasts will prefer his detail work, on view at Bond's Web site (bobbondart.com). Most impressive is the pinstriping, done freehand with a thin brush, on a wooden toilet seat.

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