May 10, 2023

Frank Kozik has passed away. I became aware of Kozik’s poster art, as many did, through the indie music scene of the early 90s. Kozik had produced great irreverent pop art meets psychedelic meets punk prints for some of my favorite bands like Beastie Boys, the Reverend Horton Heat, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Nirvana, and especially The Melvins! He also did the release party poster for “Dazed and Confused,” which might be my all-time favorite movie. I first met Kozik briefly in 1994 when he had a poster show in a gallery down the hall from my print studio. He seemed quiet and brooding, so I didn’t talk to him much, but his prolific poster output blew me away. I had made ten or so art prints ever, and he had made 200 in the previous year! I stepped my print game up, inspired mainly by Kozik. In 1998 Kozik called me and asked if he could connect me with some Japanese folks who collected his work and liked my work. It kicked off a great relationship between Kozik, me, and Dept. Japan. In 2000 Dept invited me and Frank to do an art show at their space in Osaka.

Frank suggested that we call the show “FUCK Kozik and Giant,” which I thought was funny, so I designed some type for it. Frank then invited me to his studio in San Francisco to finish the poster with him. When I got there, Frank, a hero, and major inspiration, pulled out a rough pencil sketch of a scene with rows of his “Smokin’ Rabbits” parading in front of the Kremlin being saluted by soldiers. Frank then told me to complete the art while he chain-smoked and cranked Black Sabbath while looking over my shoulder. I was very nervous but made illustrations, scanned them, and worked out the composition to Frank’s satisfaction. I had succeeded in a trial by fire lit by a personal hero. Thanks for that and a lot of other great moments Frank, but mostly thanks for being a prolific punk rock DIY trailblazer!