Art toy pioneer, rock poster artist, inspiring leader will be missed
Hillside, NJ – May 10, 2023 – Kidrobot today announced that Frank Kozik, the company’s Chief Creative Officer and creator of the iconic Labbit passed away unexpectedly May 6. Kozik, 61 years old and one of the world’s most unique and creative artists had been leading Kidrobot’s strategic creative vision and product development since 2018.
“Words escape how we felt about Frank. Living the American immigrant’s dream, I will always remember Frank’s childlike wonder and enthusiasm when it came to creation. Frank saw art wherever he went and was always trying to add another layer to everything. He will be greatly missed, and I hope he realized how much he was loved and adored by those who had the pleasure of knowing him,” said Joel Weinshanker, CEO of Ad Populum which owns Kidrobot. “Until next we meet my friend.”
Born and raised in Madrid, Spain in 1962, Kozik moved to Sacramento when he was 15 before joining the Air Force at the age of 18, taking him to Austin, Texas. After an honorable discharge, Kozik worked as a doorman at an Austin nightclub and first gained attention as a self-trained underground artist in the early 1980’s.
Kozik’s flyers and posters for local punk bands grew a following which led to a move to San Francisco in 1993 where he started a print shop and founded Man’s Ruin Records. Releasing over 200 singles and full-length albums for punk and alternative bands including the Sex Pistols and the first Queens of the Stone Age, Kozik also designed rock posters which is where he first introduced the Smorkin’ Labbit in 1996.
In 2001, Kozik closed up shop on Man’s Ruin to devote himself full-time to fine art, design and the emerging art toy movement. Labbit, a smoking, unshaven rabbit character and its signature butthole were adopted by Kidrobot in 2003, starting a longtime collaboration between the brand and Kozik. Labbit is revered as one of the most successful vinyl art figures in the world. Kozik designed over 500 different limited edition figures but more importantly, he pioneered an art toy movement and provided a launchpad for hundreds of artists through Kidrobot and across the world.
Kozik designed products and advertising campaigns for a cross-section of the top lifestyle brands including a pair of NikeSB Dunk Quickstrike sneakers, a special edition Swatch watch, the 2007 Spike TV Games Award trophy, and an “Absolut Kozik” print ad.
Labeled as “one of the rock world’s top poster artists” by Rolling Stone, Kozik worked with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Butthole Surfers, and Helmet. He directed the music video for Soundgarden’s “Pretty Noose” and published several books including Man’s Ruin: Posters and Art by Frank Kozik and Desperate Measures Empty Pleasures.
Frank is survived by his wife, Sharon and their cats.
Follow Toy Wizards on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for all the latest toy news, reviews and updates!