Since man first walked the earth, he has felt the need to customize his surroundings with the use of vibrant colors. The history of custom paint can be traced to prehistoric times when French cavemen (they didn't know they were French yet, because France didn't exist) invented the spray gun and spat the translucent juices of plants and berries onto the walls of the Lascaux caves from a straw producing Stone Age candies and pearls exemplified in over 2,000 paintings. Although the candies were actually quite good, the attempts to replicate a pearlescent luster left a lot to be desired. After the Stone Age and Paleolithic times came the Dark Ages and as one can imagine not a lot of custom paint innovation evolved during this era. As mankind emerged from the Dark Ages into different periods of art history that we don't have room to discuss here came the renaissance, and the quest for the perfect media to accurately reproduce the vivacious colors custom painters sought to ply their trade resumed with a vengeance. Tempera paint in use since ancient Egypt was vastly improved by renaissance painters with the addition of egg yolk to serve as a binding agent to promote adhesion, suspend pigments, and add depth to the color. Oil paints were invented in the 12th century by Northern European renaissance painters in search of a more resilient media that could be stored and then blended into an area at a later date. The oil added a depth and gloss to the paint that wasn't maximized until Flemish masters in the 15th to 17th century perfected the paint manufacturing process, and the methods for how it was applied.
In the 20th century the search to further the evolution of custom paint manufacturing and application methods jumped by leaps and bounds in the mid '50s (DuPont introduced acrylic lacquer in 1956) when car and bike custom painters delved into the realm of candies, pearls, and flakes. In much the same way renaissance painters had to mix and formulate their own paint to achieve the effect they were after, custom painters in the 1950s had to as well. Against the popular conception that all things custom were born in Southern California, it was 1956 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when a young hot rodder named Jon Kosmoski took his 1940 Chevy to the "best shop in town" for a paintjob. This wasn't just any '40 Chevy, Jon had done a considerable amount of work to the car, including installing a '56 Chevy 265-inch Powerpack engine with a '36 Buick tranny and Olds rearend. Jon was so unimpressed with the results that it inspired him to become a custom painter, and invent his own brand of custom paint in his parent's basement. Nothing had changed much since renaissance times when making the color was only half the battle because building durability into the paint was an issue of equal importance. It's not remembered how long it was before neighbors complained about the lacquer smell emitted from the Kosmoski family's basement, but it's a historical fact Jon's paint gained regional recognition toot sweet as the right stuff to use if a painter wanted superior results. Jon was going to great lengths to develop a system that started at the bare metal and didn't stop until there was a heavy coat of wet-looking clear to enhance the magical hues in between. As news of House of Kolor spread across the land, distribution expanded and the company grew. At the core and key to this expansion was Jon Kosmoski rolling into any town with a reputable paint store and a clientele of painters who wanted to advance to the world of custom painting. Jon held HOK clinics where right in the middle of an impromptu classroom set up in a host's shop he would grab a gun full of HOK paint and teach by example. In one night, Jon taught guys things that took many years for custom painters to learn on their own. Back in the day, no custom painter would share the secrets of the trade with other painters, but Jon believed in his products and knew the road to success was by teaching other painters. It's only been in recent years the major automotive paint manufacturers (DuPont, BASF, PPG, to name a few) have entered into the custom finish arena. In 1997, Jon sold House of Kolor to Valspar, a 200-year-old coating company also based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jon stayed on as a consultant and to this day remains the face of House of Kolor.