The prolific poster artist and creative director of Kidrobot created the album covers for Queens of the Stone Age, Melvins’ Houdini, and the Offspring’s Americana
by Evan Minsker | Pitchfork | May 10, 2023
Frank Kozik, the artist who designed posters and album covers for numerous bands, died on Saturday. His album covers include Queens of the Stone Age’s self-titled album, Melvins’ Houdini, and the Offspring’s Americana. Bands including Nirvana, Sonic Youth, the White Stripes, Butthole Surfers, and Beastie Boys are among the many artists who commissioned tour posters. He was 61.
“Frank was a man larger than himself, an icon in each genre he worked in,” a statement shared by Kozik’s wife, Sharon, reads. “He dramatically changed the industry he was a 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.”
Kozik started doing posters while living in Austin in the early 1980s after getting attention from bands for his work as part of the mail art community. He gradually got work for corporate ad campaigns, participated in gallery shows, and ultimately started his label Man’s Ruin Records. Man’s Ruin released music by Kyuss, High on Fire, Melvins, and more. He was the creative director of Kidrobot, the limited-edition art toy company.
He attributed the aesthetic of his most famous work to his “dark sense of humor” and growing up in punk rock. “I was part of the trash world,” Kozik said in 2018. “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 that stuff, and it was all stuff that we could kind of reproduce in our own lives; we could get a shitty car and drive around real fast, and we could hang out with fun people and party… 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.”
Here’s my Kozik t-shirt, circa 1985, from my favorite record store in Houston at the time.