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Saturday, March 29, 2014
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ZBIGNIEW 'ZBYSZEK' KOZIOL

December 18, 1946 - March 24, 2014

After a courageous battle with cancer, Artist and gallery owner Zbyszek Koziol, passed away in his home on March 24 with his loving wife, Tippi, and their sons, Antoni and Aleks by his side. He was 67 years old.

Zbyszek was born in his family's home in Kudowa-Zdroj, Poland, where his mother and father nurtured him and his two siblings in a cozy and creative environment. His father was a talented sculptor, wood carver, and painter.

He studied English language at 'Cambridge School of English" in London, England, and went on to earn his MA in Economics in the 'Central School of Planning and Statistics' in Warsaw, Poland. In 1977 he became the 'Head of the Department of International Jazz Festivals' for the 'Polish Jazz Society' in Warsaw were he organized concerts with legendary jazz singers and musicians.

His early travels included France, Spain, Scotland, India, Nepal, Vietnam, and Malaysia, which led him to Australia, where he fell in love with its vast beauty. He eventually earned an Australian Citizenship. His early works were in photography, pastels, acrylic, and oil paintings on paper, canvas, furniture, and clothing. His works of art began gaining recognition and he was eventually chosen by the Sydney City Council Art Department as one of twenty non-Australian artists to be filmed and documented for educational purposes.

In 1985, he was invited to NYC to co-organize a Miles Davis concert tour in the USSR and Poland. He photographed and interviewed the legend himself. Zbyszek decided to extend his stay and supported himself by painting T-shirts and selling them at the West Broadway Flea Market. It was there that he was recognized and encouraged to keep painting by Pop artist, Andy Warhol.

In 1986, Zbyszek turned an empty commercial space above an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village into a night club where, in collaboration, he painted wall to wall murals. This space became 'Mondo Cane Blues Bar.' This is also where he met his future wife, Tippi, after he hired her as a cocktail waitress.

The couple moved to Key West in late 1987 began selling their hand painted T-shirts at the 'Sunset Celebration' at Mallory Square. They were married in 1988 and soon welcomed their two sons, Antoni and Aleks. He showered them with love, affection, and wisdom. He was Tippi's best friend and guiding light.

The couple opened "Zbyszek Gallery' in 1995 which featured both of their works, and moved it to a handful of locations in Key West, Delray Beach, and Saint Petersburg, Fla. As a result of Zbyszek's declining health, the couple closed the doors to their last location on Petronia St. on April, 1 2013.

Zbyszek created a unique body of figurative/abstract works of art in a variety of mediums which are spread throughout the world, and he continued painting until one month ago.

He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Krystyna and Zygmunt Koziol, and his brother Bogdan Koziol.

He is survived by his wife, Tippi, sons Antoni and Aleks, his 1 year old granddaughter Trinity (who always put a sparkle in his blue eyes), Barbara Stachowiak (sister), Michael Ewell (stepson), Conrad Koziol (godson and nephew), and a wonderful loving extended family. Grateful, he was to his many art patrons, spiritual supporters, and true friends he has met on his journey; and especially, his wife and children, through which his legend will live on.

Our family wishes to thank Joan King for all of her love and support, Dr. Covington, Dr. Ahamad, Dr. Oldham, The Lower Keys Medical Center, Visiting Nurses Association, and Hospice of the Florida Keys.

The Dean-Lopez Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements.

A celebration of his life will be announced at a later date.

We will miss you immensely!