The artist was born in the village of Troitsko-Pechersk in the Komi Autonomous Republic. He first studied at Syktyvkar, the childrens' art school, in Komi, then in the Yaroslavl Art College from 1947-1949. Kozlov went to St. Petersburg (then called Leningrad) to study at Tavicheskaya Art School from 1949-1950 and then on to attend the prestigious Repin Institute from 1950 to 1956. He began exhibiting in 1956 and participated as a member of the All-Russian Congresses of Soviet Artists. For many years, he was the head of the Leningrad Art Union. He specialized in genre painting, paintings of everyday contemporary Russian life. He was particularly fascinated by life in the far north. He was known for his use of contrasting placement of blue-greens and golden browns. His style was a cross between Working-Class Impressionism and the Severe Style.