Underground Artist Frank Kozik, Who Created Iconic Album Covers and Concert Posters, Has Died at 61

Kozik created record and poster art for bands including the Melvins and Nirvana.

Frank Kozik attends the 2020 Kidrobot x Bhunny Series Toy Fair Preview at Slate in New York. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Kidrobot.

Frank Kozik, a beloved toy designer, graphic designer and artist who created album covers and concert posters for musicians and bands ranging from David Bowie to KISS, Nirvana to the White Stripes, died over the weekend at the age of 61.

“We are devastated to inform you that Frank Kozik passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday,” his wife, Sharon, wrote on Instagram this week. “Frank was a man larger than himself, an icon in each of the genres he worked in. He dramatically changed every industry he was a part of. He was a creative force of nature.” No cause of death was given. 

Born in Spain, Kozik spent his youth living under the dictator Francisco Franco. Self-taught as an artist, he got his start in the mail art community in Austin, Texas, where he was stationed with the Air Force, and then began to create concert posters. He would also show in galleries and create his own label, Man’s Ruin Records, which released records by Melvins, High on Fire, and others. 

Speaking about his work with Riot Fest, Kozik revealed one of the secrets to his popularity: “I hit on a formula early where, if it was a massively evil band, I’ll do something that’s insanely cute, and that’d make it weird,” he said. “Conversely, if it’s something more normal, I’d insert some secret dark element. That was always for personal amusement, but it turned out that if I thought it was interesting, so did X amount of other people.”

Kozik had no great love for education or museums, as he revealed in the same interview.

He said: “I was part of the trash world. I was a no-education loser person, and was definitely into hedonistic experiences. While I have an appreciation of fine art and I understand it, I was going to punk rock shows, not college nor museums. All of the stuff that really turned my crank was… stuff that we could kind of reproduce in our own lives… and a lot of that stuff is really visually arresting. It’s all power imagery, and it really gets basic impulses across: sex, drugs, violence, weird shit.”

After conquering the world of album cover and poster design, Kozik moved into making toys for Kidrobot, where he was chief creative officer.

Information on a memorial service will be forthcoming, said his wife on Instagram. The post is signed “Sharon and the cats.”


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