“I was born in LA grew up on Baldwin Park California, home of IN-N-OUT burger. I work as a design director for an agency in Burbank. Have worked for some of the world premier design agencies and top entertainment companies. With brands like MTV Networks, Universal Pictures, Microsoft, Lexus, Disney, and Activision populating my resume. I paint in acrylics on wood, at times found objects, and murals. The idea behind KMNDZ is built upon the premise of reflection, hope, and a burning desire to live life to the fullest. “ – Johnny “KMNDZ” Rodriguez
1xRUN Thru Interview
Sucker Free by KMNDZ
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this original piece, when was it created and with what materials? How long did it take from start to finish?
KMNDZ: The original piece was created or finished March 2012, it was painted on Luan wood. I tend to gesso my pieces with black golden paint. Colors used are golden Acrylic paints. Once piece is finished it varnished with Soluvar from Liquitex. In total time I would say it took seven weeks.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
KMNDZ: The piece was my first painting of a face. I had such a hard time I must have painted it around five time before I felt I got it right. Merry Karnowsky challenged me to step out side my comfort zone and paint a figure. It was intended to be an exercise. In the process, I found my self falling in love with painting all over again.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
KMNDZ: What’s unique about the piece is that it’s not a robot but of a person. If you have followed my work you know I tend to only paint Robots.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
KMNDZ: Well, as most know I never do prints. This in fact would be my second print released on the open market. Safe to say they are hard to come by.
1xRun: Describe the piece in one gut reaction word.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
KMNDZ: My earliest memory would be in head start in Baldwin park. I would have been five years old. I think I was drawing cars at the time. Black Camaro to be exact. My first piece was of a robot holding a molotov cocktail. It sucked and I still have it =)
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
KMNDZ: Bill Watterson, Dali, Gary Larson, Lane Smith and Bob Marley.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
KMNDZ: Glenn Barr, Jack White and Bunckle.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
KMNDZ: Music is a must and tends to change with the season. However you find Marley and Piaf on heavy rotation.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
KMNDZ: I think I would paint with Jose Parla. I super dig his style and respect how he looks at a wall that’s been touched by time.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
KMNDZ: Margaret Kilgallen has been a big inspiration for me and would’ve loved to paint a wall with her.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
KMNDZ: Hmm I think It was an Urban Medium piece and yes I still have it.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
KMNDZ: Last piece was a painting by Jose Ramos. Killer piece I picked up from ThinkSpace.
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
KMNDZ: I just finished up some tour posters for Pearl Jam, Blink-182, and Linkin Park. I have also been working on some finishing touches to a mural for Shoyoroll and I also recently finished up some live painting at the tar pits in late September. Other than that I’m training hard to compete in the senior worlds of Jiu-jitsu.
1xRun: Where else can people find you?
Location: Los Angeles, California
He attributes his success in commercial design as a direct result of his passion for art. “I didn’t choose a career in visual design. It chose me. Draw, paint, design, take pictures… it’s what I do and always have done.” Kmndz is about both the past and the future. “Anyone who’s ever touched a Mac, knows that the keystroke combination ‘command’ + ’z’ = ‘undo’. After using it day in and day out at work, I started wishing that I had an ‘undo’ action for everyday life. We’ve all done things that we wished we hadn’t, and said things that we would like to take back.”
Rodriguez’s personal work is quite different from his commercial endeavors. When he sits down to paint, he puts aside the pressures of mass appeal and commercial accessibility, and instead focuses on creating art for himself. Drawing from his own life, his paintings brim with memories of family and friends, religious undertones, and iconic elements. A recent piece features a drawing of an audio cassette embedded into a hand grenade. This represents a tough look back at the time when his father left their family to fight a war in Nicaragua, and left only an audio recording to explain his actions. Other paintings depict the biblical stories of Jonah and King David. Yet another deals with a strange coincidence that reminds him of a close relative that recently passed away from cancer.
“I’m overwhelmed by the reaction that I’ve received about my art. I paint about the things that have meaning in my life, and it is amazing to know that it touches others. The messages are simple. Be honest to yourself. Hold yourself accountable for your actions. Never forget. And live your life fully without wishing to hit ‘Kmndz’.”
Find out more @ http://www.kmndz.com