A cursory glance at the rock poster art scene over the past 20 years would yield a handful of names, and those names would pass the credit right along to Frank Kozik. Perhaps it has everything to do with the fact that Frank reinvented the genre. While poster art expanded and left San Francisco’s Bill Graham scene, Frank’s versions and interpretations leaned towards punk and DIY, and became associated with the rise of grunge in the early 90’s. He’s created iconic posters for bands who ended up selling more than a few records; Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Nirvana, serving as a few eaxmples you might have heard of before. Throughout it all, Frank Kozik has woven Americana into his own taxonomy of comparison. The devil is truly in the details, as scene’s right out of cartoons made for Big Boy are spiked with robotic hands and an undertone of demise. Frank Kozik has also become the figurehead of the ripple effect we’ve seen in the vinyl toy scene, contributing everything from smoking rabbits to Emperor Mao remixed with Mickey Mouse.
He’s not into romanticism, in fact, he seems to get off on slaying nostalgia, despite admitting influences that you can see in the work. Frank has never brown-paper-bagged someone to death; which is to say, he’s not a fan of rules, art cliques, or machinated standards of authenticity. IPMM and Kozik agree, artists need to sell their work. His ability to make uncompromising art while appealing to a broad audience has been proven over and over again by his success, and we’re honored to have one of modern art’s foremost characters on these digital pages. If you’re looking for lots of syllables and philosophical diatribes, this is the wrong interview to read. Then again, if you want unfiltered thoughts from one of the most successful and iconic artists of our time, jump right in.
Evan La Ruffa of IPMM: Frank! The pleasure is ours! Let’s get into it… The Labbit is one of your more popular pieces, how’d it come into existence?
Frank Kozik: I was in Japan, obsessing on hello kitty type stuff in the mid-90’s and some friends over there said I should devise my own type of character….so…..Labbit was born on a beer coaster more or less.
EL: How does the idea for a toy or poster work for you. Is it just a flash that implants the image in your mind of what you want to create, or do you feel it out the moment while sketching/producing?
FK: It’s always different. Sometimes an idea has been there forever, other times it just pops into view. The toys are more planned out than the posters.
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