Artist Frank Kozik, who designed posters and other materials for some of the world’s leading alternative rock bands, died at the age of 61 on May 6, his wife announced.
His career began in the ‘80s and included collaborations with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Melvins, the Offspring and many others. The son of a serviceman, Kozik settled in Austin in the ‘80s after a spell in the U.S. Air Force. He found work as a doorman at music venues and soon started designing flyers and posters for local punk bands. He moved to San Francisco in 1993, where he opened a print shop and founded Man’s Ruin Records. The label would oversee the release of more than 200 alternative records. He later moved into fine art, designing toys and writing books about art.
“We are devastated to inform you that Frank Kozik passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday,” his wife, Sharon, posted on social media. “Frank was a man larger than himself, an icon in each of the genres he worked in. He dramatically changed every industry he was part of. He was a creative force of nature. We are so beyond lucky and honored to have been part of his journey, and he will be missed beyond what words could ever express.
“He loved his wife, his cats, classic muscle cars, mentoring others and Disneyland. His forceful presence will be missed by all who knew him. His legacy, like all great masters, will live on through his art and our memories of him.” A memorial service is being arranged; the family has requested privacy in the meantime.
In a 2010 interview, Kozik told Jeremy Riad that “the reason I got out of music is because there’s all these fucking assholes that just want to build this little fort. In the old days of the punk rock scene, we’d all band together because everybody was against us. It didn’t matter what kind of weird music you like: We’re all weirdos so we all work together to make cool things happen.
“You’d go to the punk rock club and all the gays and old stoners and freaky cowboy dudes were mixing with the punkers and new wavers. But over the years everybody wanted to have their own army, and I got to hate it and I got out of the music scene.”
He recalled that he “put out these really cool bands, and we’d sell like 300 records. They got the same ad campaign, same push, but whatever, nobody really liked their shit that much even though they were so rad. Then I’d put out some crappy L7 live album and sell 45,000 units. What are you gonna do? The L7 shit paid for the six records that nobody bought. That’s how it works.”
Kozik claimed he didn’t know what art was. “Art maybe is some dude that’s fucked and cuts his ear off and lives on crap in a hole somewhere and is insane and pukes all his shit out onto a canvas and dies and 100 years later people decide it’s cool,” he said. “Is that art? I don’t know. Or is art like some elaborate Renaissance guy with a big studio who is patronized by the Pope and has all of his assistants doing his stuff? Is that art? I don’t know what the fuck art is, dude. All I know is that I like to make stuff.”
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