the first time i saw a frank kozik print was in a feature of him in details magazine in the mid-1990s. details used to be soooo awesome. it was written for men who like good music and cleavage and/or maybe were a little gay, and for the women (teen girls) who could overlook the men's grooming articles and actresses-in-bikinis pictorials because otherwise it was super effing hip. i bought TWO copies of the february 1995 issue, one to cut up and hang photos on my wall and one to keep FOREVER, due to michael stipe being on the cover and a black and white photo of him hitch-hiking, pantless, inside (PS: how is that photo not found anywhere on the internet?).
this was pre-internet, of course, and it was difficult to find cool articles and photos of bands and musicians i loved, like tori amos, veruca salt, elastica and liz phair, and my bedroom walls were a collage of photos ripped out of details, spin and rolling stone (all sassy magazines were too holy to deface or dismember). the kozik article (which i cannot find online) showed a few of his prints, and the nirvana poster blew me away. i tore the page out and hung it not only on my bedroom wall but took it to college and to my first apartment, and several apartments after that and, due to hoarder tendencies, i bet i could find it (as well as that stipe details) within 20 minutes in a box in my basement. i LOVED it.
i'm not sure what it is precisely that i am so enamored with. the unexpected darkness to a happy image, of course: the perfect boy and girl from a 1950s picture book dancing in a field with a deformed monster, the little girl's metal hook for a hand. part of it may even be just the position of the monster's hand, finger delicately raised to a butterfly, frolicking in the sun. the bands are fucking brilliant - nirvana headlining with the breeders and shonen knife opening - what a completely early-90s lineup: the best band with the best side project and the best japanese oddity (sorry, cibo matto). the colors: flourescent (even after 20 years, still day-glo and bright), but not too loud. it says everything about what i find funny and true without really making a statement.
this was in 2004, during friendster's heyday, before facebook, and i found the seller online. she was a fashion designer in new york; her show, consisting of white satin gowns with DANZIG bedazzled on the ass, was even reviewed by the washington post (it mentioned crooked hemlines and the like), and i took a certain perverse glee in being *kind of* a crazy bitch toward her. nothing seriously mean. after it became pretty apparent that she was just going to keep my $364, i set up a friendster account under the name "Nirvana Poster" - my photo was the one that she had presumably taken in her living room - and, under "career" i entered something stupid like "hanging on (seller's name)'s wall" and, under "hobbies," i entered something even stupider, like "wishing that i lived in chicago, with the girl who bought me but was ripped off." then i sent the seller a friendster rose - apparently the 2004 equivalent of a facebook poke or a stupid online dating wink or whatever - and BITCH SENT ME A MESSAGE BACK THAT SAID "HEY, I HAVE THAT POSTER, TOO!" then i replied with something that was almost certainly ridiculous and perhaps a little insane. nothing threatening, just a simple "hey, fuckface, i want my money back, or the poster, you choose," or similar.
what? i was younger then, and i don't handle being disrespected or stolen from very well. no apologies for that.
so then i gave up on the dream for a while. it was definately back-burner, when i have more money, someday . . .
and then, out of nowhere, on the morning of my 35th birthday (damn, gurl, you middle-aged already?) my husband brought a long brown cardboard mailing tube into our bedroom with a sweet smile. i hyperventilated when i saw it. it is just as awesome as i always knew it was. more, because he got it for me. he actually saw nirvana on that tour (i never got to see them) and understands my 90s rock geekouts. it's signed (kozik 93, in pencil, at the bottom) and numbered (kozik 93-47 - i assume that this is #47 from the original run).
i was super pleased, when i took it to michael's to get framed (gotta wait for those 60% + 10% off coupons for custom framing), that the guy who took my order looked like a mid-40s alice in chains super fan - long hair, chain wallet, black boots with his khaki pants uniform. he was stoked to see it - "awww, man, THIS poster!" and we talked about kozik and nirvana and bands we wish we had been able to see but never did.
it now hangs in our bedroom. i like looking at it every morning. naomi likes it, too - we talk about it. girl, boy, silly kitty, butterfly, flowers. it's very kid-friendly, with a sharp edge. it's 20 years later and it is still seriously fucking awesome.