Kona Chris

It all started in 1993 when a friend and I started a small custom interior wall mural company called Finger Paint Designs. In the beginning we painted mostly children’s bedrooms and converted them to the child’s dreamland. As we slowly grew, we started to paint wall murals for local villages, comedy clubs, and larger corporations. Several murals of ours were used as backdrops for the different local news reports that were broadcasted from O’Hare Airport.

It was about three years later someone approached me on painting a snowmobile helmet, and I gave that a shot. I had to go to a local automotive body shop for the paint and had them clear it. I was so surprised on how well it turned out. So for the next few months after that, I volunteered at that body shop cleaning and taking out the trash. In exchange, they instructed me on automotive paint material, body work, and the application of material. After a few months, I found my new calling.

I left the wall mural business to my partner and I started a custom helmet painting business. So for about a year, I painted mainly helmets and tailgates just to get my name out there. Apparently my work caught the eye of Speed Limit Cycle out of Markham, Illinois. They were a dealer that dealt in restoration and customizing sport bikes. My repair skills were challenged and honed at the same time, producing some mild to wild paint jobs. The owner then purchased another import bike dealership by Midway Airport and named it The Zone. I painted hundreds of bikes for these two dealerships for about 15 years.

A few years ago the market and economy had changed, and Speed Limit Cycle closed their doors. Two years ago Hollywood Motors in Brookfield, IL gave me a call. I found myself painting fewer sport bikes and painting more Harley Davidson’s, Big Dogs, and other custom built bikes.

My reputation spread around in the bike community and Illinois Harley Davidson in Berwyn, IL gave me an opportunity, to paint for them. We have developed a great relationship since December 2009. Wild Fire Harley Davidson in Villa Park, IL has invited me to come and paint for them since the beginning of this year. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you will also see me at special events including Fox River Harley Davidson in St. Charles, IL and City Limits Harley Davidson in Palatine, IL.

  • Custom Paint
  • Repair
  • Color Matching

I am a firm believer in a quality paint job. I handle each and every paint job as if it were my own, using the best material from start to finish. House of Kolor, PPG, and DuPont are the primary paints I use on most of my projects. 3M sandpaper, masking material, and finishing products are used through each and every project for that top of the line finish.

I believe that and educated customer is much easier to work with. Do not worry if you have little or no knowledge of automotive paint finishes. I will take my time and explain the process to you if you are interested and keep you updated with e-mail and photos if you so desire.

I would say only 60% of my work is actually “custom” paint work. The other 40% consists of repair, restoration, and painting solid colors.

One man’s stock paint job is another man’s custom paint job. Some customers go for the very subtle look. One can go with an aftermarket front fender that needs to be painted stock, to match the rest of the current paint job. Other common accessories and aftermarket parts that I commonly paint are inner dash fairings, tweeter pods, air filter covers, lower chin fairings, fenders, and audio bag lids.

You are protected! A normal solid color paint finish consists of primer, 2 to 3 coats of paint, and 2 to 3 coats of clear. The same solid color paint job for me would consist of primer, 2 to 3 coats of paint, and 4 coats of clear. After the paint has cured, I then sand the clear down and apply 4 more coats of clear for some serious protection. I know for a fact that this has saved many paintjobs from scratches caused by belts, zippers, keys, and metal clasps. I have had several panic stricken customers come back to me with scratches on their bike. In most cases I just break out a sander and polisher and take care of it on the spot. Most of the time I do it free of charge, and they appreciate the service and quality that I provide.

In most cases, your clear coat finish will have ZERO orange peel. You will be able to see, feel, and hear, how smooth your finish will be. Trust me on that one!

Customer satisfaction is not my goal. I want you to be blown away when you get your product back. I try and set my standards higher than the customer’s expectations. It always works out better that way.

Getting your bike painted is not as expensive as you think. If you are looking to replace a dented tank with a new one, think twice. For a little more than the cost of a new tank, I would be able to fix the tank and get 3 to 5 parts into a nice custom color for you. E-Bay, swap meets, and flea markets are great places to pick up cheap used parts if yours are damaged beyond repair. They do not need to be in perfect shape or the correct color…. That is what I am for.

Do expect limitations when color matching. Many older bikes were painted in lacquer paint which is almost obsolete except for a few special applications. Changing to a new paint medium such as urethane, you are not going to get that 100% match. Also, throw in the years of color fade into the equation you can see how challenging color matching can be.

Save those pictures! If you see something you like in a magazine or on the internet, save it. When we meet, we can apply some of these ideas in creating your paint job. I have been asked to paint bikes similar to the ones you see on television for a fraction of the price. With me, you are not paying for the name, so that can save you over $5K and you will get the same if not better quality.

Every painter has their style and specialty. You may want that certain pin-up girl on you rear fender from the one famous artist you admire. I have no problem working with other painters to make sure you get the best job for your money. Instead of shipping all your parts out to the coast, I can paint and prep your fender and ship it out. When it is done, it can be shipped back and I can finish up the project. This can and will save you money. My strongest points are graphics, flames, and restoration and my final finish is hard to beat.

If you are getting your bike painted and have a helmet, that is the time to get it done. If I can paint it with the bike, it is much more cost effective for you.

When I am done, and want your paint codes feel free to ask. If a painter refuses to give you the paint codes, red flags should be popping up.

There are many factors that can affect the cost of a paint job. There are some paints you can purchase for $45.00 per quart, and then there are some special paints that cost $450.00 per pint. . Graphics, paint application, the condition of the “tin”, welding, pin striping, and fabrication are naturally other factors that can affect the price. If you have any questions, I can work with you because you might not be aware of options that are available. I will let you know what the most cost effective approach is, without jeopardizing the quality.

Giving back is very important to me. Every year I try and pick out a charity and do something special. I have painted several bikes in the past and donated 100% of the money to charities close to my heart. They range from scholarships, cancer research, local families in need, and for the past two years organ donation (Green Ribbon Run).

Having been raised in a police family, and have served 13 years in the US Navy and US Navy reserves I know the sacrifices families make for our freedom. If you are current or retired a police officer, fireman, or military, I will work with you on a discounted price, just to say thanks for your hard work and sacrifice.

Christopher Grames
Westchester, IL
E-mail: chris@konachris.com

Ivan Catudan: (708) 890-3982

Greg Widaman: (708) 788-9080
Widaman Signs

Pat Woods: (312) 758-0050
Woods Metal Shaping

Michael & Pam Silverman:



E-mail: chris@konachris.com