Frank Kozik the King of Smorkin’
You know him. You love him! He is Kidrobot’s new creative director, but do you REALLY know Frank Kozik?
His father was an American serviceman and his mother a young Spanish woman. He spent his childhood in Spain. This experience of growing up under the fascist dictator Franco would later serve as a major influence throughout his work.
When he was 15 he moved to Sacramento, CA to live with his father. At the age of 18 he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Austin, Texas where he remained after his honorable discharge.
Often credited with single handedly reviving the lost art of the concert poster (and we could not agree more on this), his creative career rose largely out of his enthusiasm for Austin’s growing underground punk rock scene in the early eighties. In 1981, he began designing and posting black and white flyers for friends’ bands on telephone poles. His reputation quickly grew as an artist whose work was graphically compelling and culturally gripping.
An entirely self-taught artist, Kozik eventually transitioned into producing large, colorful silkscreen concert posters, which found international success (we still want one of the early Pearl Jam ones). He has created artwork for a wide range of musicians such as Pearl Jam, The White Stripes, The Beastie Boys, Green Day, Neil Young and Nirvana. In the mid-nineties he directed several music videos, including Soundgarden’s “Pretty Noose”.
In 1993, he moved to San Francisco, California. Two years later, he started his own record label, Man’s Ruin Records. The majority of his posters and album art during this era were hand silkscreened and numbered at his studio. During this time he designed and released over 200 singles and full-length albums including a record by the Sex Pistols and the first Queens of the Stone Age single.
In 2001, Kozik closed Man’s Ruin to devote himself full time to fine art, design and the newly emerging art toy movement (we are so glad you did Frank). Presently he works closely with Kidrobot and many other boutique toy companies to produce his toys including many versions of his iconic Labbit character. To date he has designed over 500 different limited edition figures. He also creates hand painted toy editions and still designs posters.
Kozik also designs products and campaigns for a spectrum of major media and lifestyle brands including a pair of NikeSB Dunk Quickstrike sneakers, a special edition Swatch watch, the 2007 Spike TV Video Games Award trophy, and an “Absolut Kozik” print ad.
In addition to his outside clients, 2007 saw him launch his own brand, Ultraviolence. Under this imprint, Kozik produces limited edition art objects in vinyl, fiberglass, bronze and Limoges porcelain that are often more complex in content and larger in scale than his other vinyl toys. Kozik’s work has been exhibited in over 40 group shows and 35 one-man gallery exhibits worldwide.
He currently lives and works in San Francisco with his wife, Sharon, and their four cats.
As you can see, we love love love Frank Kozik and his interviews are always memorable. Here is a classic interview Babylon Falling did with the King of Smorkin’ that lets you get to know him a tad better.
Now with Kozik as the Kidrobot creative director, the future is bright and who knows what we will see soon.