Since word spread on Tuesday May 9 that Frank Kozik had passed away on Saturday May 6, 2023, at the age of 61, numerous artists have posted testimonials about Kozik’s influence on them. “We lost a giant this week,” began Jay Ryan, adding, “Frank broke his own trail and dragged a bunch of us along behind him.” “RIP to a true giant of the scene,” posted Emek, who inventoried Kozik’s varied interests: “art, cars, toys, sculptures, underground art, music, rock posters, album covers, record labels, music videos… he did it all, he influenced all, larger-than-life yet down-to-earth hero to many. Legend.” For Daniel Danger, Kozik was “One of the last great outsiders. Kozik was kind of our rag tag group’s silent commander for a long time, he made sure we kept it weird by keeping it weirder.” And Connie Collingsworth and Jim Madison of Print Mafia. put it succinctly when they stated that “Without Frank there would be no Print Mafia.”
And so, while Frank Kozik has passed, he is clearly not gone, inasmuch as his influence will continue to be felt in the work of these artists and countless others. Indeed, there will still be a little bit of Kozik in every print Chuck Sperry produces from his Oakland studio, where Kozik’s semi-automatic elliptical press, roller frames, racks, exposure unit, and halogen light box have been doing the work for which they were intended for several decades now. Sperry purchased this cache of equipment from Kozik in 2002, complete with the “Support Your Local Hells Angels” sticker. Says Sperry, “Frank was in my corner, he championed posters as a medium. He was kind and supportive under that gruff and supremely sarcastic exterior. I’m certain there’s an army of creative people who feel just like me. What a great loss.”
Prior to his untimely passing, a possible Kozik show with his good friend Jermaine Rogers was in the works at the Haight Street Art Center. While emotions are understandably raw right now, we sincerely hope that show still happens so that we can pay our proper respects.