Influenced by skateboarding culture, his homebase of Barcelona and a healthy dose of creative irony, Emil Kozak has become a leader of what’s relevant in today’s graphic market. Devising obscure references through words, objects and codes, Kozak has produced artwork for clients ranging from Vans, Element, and Burton, to Nike, Lab Skateboards and Uniqlo. “I hope that my work can remind us that imagination can defy gravity and bend time.” Kozak’s mantra is yet another example of trends in design bridging both space and time. Check out our Q+A for a glimpse into the world of this vector wunderkind.
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PP: What websites do you generally start your day with? Do you have a daily routine for news/blog/information consumption?
EK: I check the wave forecasts first thing when I wake up. Sometimes I check the news, but usually i just get started on working.
PP: As a designer, how did you discover your talent and how has it evolved over your creative career?
EK: When i was a kid I was really into Lego and making things out of wood. At my parents house there is still all my homemade pinball machines, pirate ships and what not. When I got older, I started making tape-covers for mix tapes and the demo-tapes for our punk-band on the Xerox machine at my dad’s work. When I finished High School, my mom gave me the idea to try out a graphic design education. I did and was hooked.
PP: Do you discuss your work with other designers? If so, how does that impact your creation process?
EK: Yes, I have friends with similar professions and we always help each other out, when the eyes give up… It affects more of the final decision making concerning colorways or small variations. Conceptual work etc. is between my notebook and me 🙂
PP: Where do you usually work on your patterns and what is your preferred method of creation + execution?
EK: First I sketch with pencil and paper. Then I scan and finish it on computer.
PP: When is the last time you took a professional/creative risk??
EK: I guess I take small risks on a weekly basis, but the last major one was deciding to go freelance, and start up my own studio.
PP: Do you incorporate commercial trends into your work and if so, is this a factor that drives your design?
EK: Sure, I’m just as much a product of my environment as anybody else. Zeitgeist and the contemporary is a powerful thing. I actually think it’s kinda cool that we are all in this boat together somehow with shared beliefs and a collective consciousness.