His reflection mirrored in his most recent creation, the ash drops from his cigarette, and Bob Kovacs meticulously lays down stripe after stripe effortlessly. Born in 1940 in Hollywood, California Bob was often exposed to art and the limelight. Catholic school was pretty boring for Bob as a boy, so he found himself doodling a lot. It was during that time that his mom realized that he had a real talent. Being encouraged by his peers and family Kovacs let his imagination run wild.
Soon after grade school Bob was married and started a family. His ex-wife expressed that she didn’t want to raise their children in the rough neighborhood of North Hollywood. So he packed up his shop and sold it to Larry Watson, a well-known pin stripper from the area. The family soon after made the move to Clovis, California.
Bob soon found himself doing the only thing he knew how to do, and that was stripping. He set up shop behind the Bank of America at 328 N. Clovis Ave. The first few years were tough financially while Kovacs was getting his business up and running. He remembers smelling the fantastic Italian food coming from the restaurant next door, Luna’s, wishing he could afford to get off of his beans and wings diet.
Just when life couldn’t get much harder word spread like wildfire around the Valley in the early 70’s. The rumor was that there was a new pin striper in town who was extremely talented. Next thing Kovacs knew he was striping ten to twelve cars per day at the local car dealerships. His shop was jammed packed full of hot rods, motorcycles, and boats. Kovacs was at the point that he had to turn down work. During this time Kovacs’ name was beginning to become mainstream with the magazines and automotive community.
During the 80’s life struck Bob in many different ways. He had to make some hard decisions and decided to move to Atascadero, California. He soon got his business up and running and the public quickly new that somebody special moved to town. He quickly bought a house in beautiful Templeton that had a shop in the back yard. He worked out of that location for years. Residents knew him as that crazy striper that rode around like a wild man on his 1947 Cushman, named, “Old Blue.” Templeton treated him well and he had the opportunity to sort out some things while building his cliental.
In 2001 Bob found himself back in Fresno. Trying to fly below the radar he worked for only special customers. In 2005 he decided to open up another storefront. No matter how hard Kovacs tries to slow down, he fails. The striping art is in his blood and he can’t get away from it. Kovacs is busier now than ever. His craftsmanship is in high demand and Bob is pumping out projects left and right. I encourage all the readers to seek out Kovacs and have him create a one-off art piece for you. You might not be greeted with a smile when you walk into his museum but I promise you will be impressed with all Bob Kovacs can do.