We Can Create speaker profile: Frank Kozik

We Can Create speaker profile: Frank Kozik

Leading up to the mega design and art showcase that is We Can Create, each week we’ll be profiling one of the 12 speakers lined up to present at the event. First up is Frank Kozik, the man credited with single handedly reviving the “lost” art of the concert poster. 

Frank Kozik's creative career rose largely out of his enthusiasm for the growing underground punk rock scene in mid-eighties Austin, Texas. Starting with black and white flyers for friends’ bands, his reputation grew as an artist whose work was graphically compelling as well as culturally gripping. 

Kozik is based in San Francisco, California, where he produces artwork, toys and graphic design. He formerly managed his own record label, Man’s Ruin Records (1995-2001,) under which he released over 220 singles and full length albums, including the first Queens of the Stone Age single. 

He has produced artwork for a diverse range of musicians such as Pearl Jam, the Butthole Surfers, Green Day, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, the Melvins and many more. In 1996, he directed Soundgarden’s “Pretty Noose” music video. Kozik’s commercial clients include Nike, Gatorade, Absolute Vodka, Oakley, Harley Davidson, and Spike TV. 

In 2001 Kozik left the music business and devoted himself full time to fine art and the newly emerging Vinyl Art Toy movement. Since 2001 he has designed over 300 separate toys and art multiples. Teaming up with such entities as Kid Robot, Toy2R and others, he has created many collectible characters such as the Smorkin’ Labbit series, the Hate Dunny and Dr. Bomb. He also produces hand painted, one-of-a-kind custom toys and Kaiju figures. 

In 2007, he started his own brand, Ultraviolence, under which he produces limited edition art toys and bronze sculptures.

What do you most want to do when you get to New Zealand?

Probably take a shower. Long flight. Actually I am looking forward to the various speakers at the event, and will most probably just wander around with no plan and see what there is to see. I’m not big on tourist stuff.

Your top three ingredients for creative success?

1. Discipline
2. Humour
3. Adaptability

You no longer create concert posters, but is there a Kiwi artist/band you’d like to have created artwork for?

Maybe Flight of The Conchords..or perhaps Dawn Of Azazel.

You’ve created a bunch of alternative, political and anti-authority toys for adults, but what was your favourite toy when you were a child?

My absolute favorite was a set of 'stone-like' lego-type blocks that allowed you to build castles. Came complete with turret tops, a drawbridge, knights and so on.

Why is it about your toys that make people sit up and take interest?

Probably just the fact that such silly yet pleasing things exist.  

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