Frank Kozik was recently back in Argentina for the debut of a new Kozik-emblazoned PUMA sneaker.
Exclusively available in Argentina, the Kozik Suede Collection features micro perforated leather toe-boxes as well as premium suede upper. Furnishing each is Kozik’s Smorkin Labbit caricature on the heel tab, sockliner, and lace tag as well as Kozik’s signature on the lateral side.
The kicks come in black, blue and red with a Smorkin’ Labbit tote bag, and there’s word of a matching track jacket and t-shirts. Remember when signature sneakers were just for athletes? I love this brave new world where The Sucklord is a sex symbol and Frank Kozik’s name adorns running shoes.
In between his jetset lifestyle, I got a hold of the man for a few questions about the new Frank Kozik sneakers.
JB: How did working with Puma in Argentina come about?
FK: I was invited to participate in this year’s Urban Art Fest in Buenos Aires which they sponsor, and, apparently I made a good impression.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working with a large, international brand? [Click through to find out.]
Advantages: prompt large payment, worldwide publicity. Disadvantages…none.
Seems like you’ve been spending a bunch of time in Argentina lately. [Missed this 20-foot Labbit installation?] What’s up with that?
It TOTALLY RULES. It’s like some amazing parallel science fiction version of earth. Amazing place. It is now officially my favorite place to be.
Puma’s logo is like a sleek jumping cheetah and your Labbit is kind of chunky and smoking a cigarette. I’m assuming they approached you for the gig, but maybe you can still give us all some advice about how an artist or designer can pitch a big brand? (Especially in light of what seems to be a schism between athletic and well, Labbit.)
I never pitch. They ask me, I say yes. If it’s a commercial gig, I always ask for a kill fee so I get paid whether or not they use it.
Remember that rumor about how Vans was anti-semetic because they had “Jewish stars” on the bottoms of their sneakers?
No. Why would they be anti semites? Jews have feet. They sell shoes.
[Interviewer pauses to look down, confirms he has feet, continues on.] I haven’t seen a view of the bottoms of your Pumas, but if you could add a repeating pattern for something you’d like to stomp on or stomp out, what would you design?
It would be my name very large. Free ads everywhere.