Earlier this month, I was in SF for some official KR business and while I was there, Frank Kozik let me stop by his studio for a visit. Trekking up from the Mission to Frank’s studio wasn’t too bad. I had a borrowed bicycle and good weather on my side. I got there a bit early and decided to cruise the local area for a while to wait it out. In doing so I walked into a local Goodwill and stumbled upon a 8-inch Pink Dalek Qee sitting on a shelf in perfect condition for $1.00. Total score! After that I sped back over to Frank’s studio and so it began.
Once I got there I locked up the bike and gave Frank a call. He poked his head out the front door, greeted me, then took me upstairs to his second floor studio. Turns out his studio used to be the site of a tech company before the big crash and housed more than 30+ people at one point. Now it’s home to Frank’s collection of toys, amongst other various objects, and workspace. The building where his office sits atop, houses a garage down below which he previously rented out while re-building his late 60’s Dodge Charger. The same car that his mother-in-law likes him to take her cruising and do burn outs in. His workspace consists of three rooms. One for clean work: computers, drafting table, light box, toy collections, conference table, etc…. one room for dirty work: drill press, saws, sanders, shipping, storage, etc… and one room for painting.
Frank talked about his childhood dreams of becoming a industrial designer and how his work has fulfilled that part of that dream with such projects as the Labbit. Frank’s long list of talents have all come together throughout the years and are evident within his body of work. I feel we are all aware of his poster art and his contributions there, but up until this visit I had no clue that Frank was model builder as a child and carried this passion on into adulthood. He was a commissioned artist in this field and was hired to complete projects that others were to timid to try. With his level of execution that was far beyond which proved to be a profitable side business for him. These talents have carried over into his custom work as we have seen such pieces as his Vader Project helmet and more recently, the custom Labbit stool which was one display last year at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Be on the lookout for some AT-AT walkers (pictured below).
A seasoned veteran who’s worked with all the top names in the vinyl toy world (Toy2R, Medicom & um… Kidrobot,) Frank always has new projects coming out. He showed me some artwork for an upcoming Skinner project he’ll be releasing soon through his company, Ultraviolence. As shown by the pieces around his office (helemt painted by friend, Dirty Donny, statues by Skinner, massive toy collection by too many artists to mention and even counterfeit Labbit figures found on eBay) Frank is a fan and will soon champion other artists, such as Skinner to bring their works into three dimensional form. One project that will be coming soon by Frank from Ultraviolence is the Gipper bust (pictured below in magenta). Yep, good ‘ol Ronald gets the Kozik treatment just the same. With the recent passing of certain dictators, Frank is worried that “all the good ones are gone” and we are now left with imitators that lack any style or panache. Don’t worry though, Frank and Kidrobot have something that will fill that void coming soon.
It looks like Frank truly enjoys his life in SF with his wife and time spent on the road or between his studio and home. As grumpy as people make him out to be, he doesn’t have too much to complain about. He’s worked hard doing what he loves and still continues too until this day. I’ve enjoyed all the conversations I’ve had with him throughout the past couple years, be it short or more recently in great length. Frank’s a straight shooter and I wouldn’t expect anything less from him.
Keep in mind that the Choice Cuts 10″ Labbit comes out this Thursday, February 9. To commemorate the occasion, the lovely meat mavens at the Lindey & Grundy butcher shop in Los Angeles will be hosting the release and signing with Frank from 7:30 -9pm. Lindy & Grundy are also making special “Chioce Cuts” sausages that will be given to the first 50 people in line and will be for sale after. Lindy & Grundy are located at 801 N. Fairfax, which is about three blocks away from KRLA.