Some collectors say artist Frank Kozik single-handedly revived the “lost art of the concert poster.” Kozik started out designing black and white handbills for his friends’ bands in Austin, TX during the mid-1980s. From those humble beginnings, Frank Kozik’s reputation grew exponentially to incredible heights. Producing silkscreen posters for major artists like The Bestie Boys, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers throughout the ’90s. Kozik’s prints are some of the most sought-after for poster collectors. So check out some of our favorite Kozik designs below!
Frank Kozik was born in Madrid, Spain in 1962. He and his family moved to the United States and settled in Austin, TX when Frank was 14. Frank had a huge enthusiasm for the underground rock scene in Austin during the mid-1980s. Kozik, an “entirely self-taught artist,” started designing black and white flyers for his friends’ bands. He took inspiration from the cut and paste xeroxed punk flyers that were posted all around Austin. One of his first designs was a handbill for the Cave Club in Austin, TX in 1987! “Back in the 80s in particular, we were trying to be super weird, and it worked because we were just a bunch of idiots in Texas and it was all novel.” Kozik says.
No puns, no photos of the band.
Just around that time, as alternative music began permeating the mainstream music space in the early ’90s, Kozik got access to his first screen printing rig. His designs from that period began to show American pop art through a bizarre lens. A subliminal visual assault with bold, bright, fluorescent color, and seemingly innocent characters oftentimes portrayed in bizarre situations. This print Kozik did for Nirvana is a perfect example of the ambiguity that resonated with Kozik during that time. “So I’m thinking, ‘Nirvana. You’re heaven. You see these children in the field. They’re dancing with God, but God’s a kind of a strange-looking creature.”
Two of Frank Kozik’s most collectible works have to be the print designed for Soundgarden in 1992, and the Neil Young “High Bear” print. Referred to as the “Holy Grail” to some collectors this Soundgarden print is highly sought after on the resale market. The first edition print is A 22.5″ x 35″ 5- color silkscreen on 110 lb paper and was limited to 450 copies. The first edition print has sold for $4,850.00 according to expresso beans.
The Neil Young “High Bear” print is probably his most iconic. The show was held at The Gorge in George, WA in 1993 and featured supporting acts Pearl Jam and Blind Melon. The limited first edition print is currently listed on eBay for $4,999.95!
Kozik currently lives and works in San Francisco and is serving as the Chief Creative Director of Kidrobot Inc, where he has been designing limited edition vinyl figures. He has designed his signature vinyl figure the Smorkin’ Labbit and has become a force in the vinyl toy movement. Kozik comes out of “retirement” to design the occasional gig poster and hopefully we will see a new Kozik print sooner than later!
For more information on concert poster collecting check out our guide!