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POW Chats: Catching Up With Illustrator and Painter, KMNDZ

johnny kmndz

Earlier this year we caught up with Johnny "KMNDZ" Rodriguez at the 2016 DesignerCon in Pasadena, Ca. We followed up with the artist to talk life lessons, origin stories and aspirations. Check out the Q&A below.

1. Hi Johnny. When we met at DesignerCon a few months ago, you were explaining to me a few of the things you'd learned recently about love and all variations of relationships, and how that was playing out within your work. What themes are at the forefront of your mind lately and how do the vibes relate to your recent creations?

It’ll always be a constant in my work as I try and keep my message personal. However, lately I’m more focused on painting to get better versus focusing on the message or story. Not having a show to deliver for has enabled me to explore. I know, I’m kinda avoiding your question here.
2. Can you talk to me about the piece you painted during Air + Style a few days back. Where as your mind at with that one?

I came across a photo of a bird bulleting through the air, it seemed to fit my current mood. It’s a painting of a bird speeding through the air while its being shot at with arrows. I’d say that sums up the last year for me.




3. Tell me about where you're from and what it was like for you growing up there.

Was born in LA and grew up in Baldwin Park, home of in-n-out. As with any city, you get what you make of it. I grew up in the streets and was able to survive it because I had good friends around every corner. The block I grew up in (Phelan) was full of all the neighborhood kids playing till it was time to come in. I could walk five minutes, run into a completely different set of hoody kids, and jump right into what ever was being played. Gangs made it tough but I grew up breaking with most of them, so there was no real threat. A few close calls but again I had back up everywhere I went.

4. What simple lessons are you learning right now in your life as you continue to live on and practice being present through the experience?

Do good, don’t be a dick. I feel like I’m in the middle of a new life lesson so things are a little foggy. It becomes clear once the dust has settled and I’ve had to time to meditate on it.

5. With a full time career in art, how do you balance what is work and what is personal, reflective or leisure time? Does it all meld together?

They are all monsters in my life. While some get fed others starve; I’ve yet to learn balance. The hungriest of them all is sleep.




6. Which one project have you most enjoyed working on thus far in your career and why?

Loaded question!!! I’ve been extremely blessed as a creative, from my personal work to my commercial work. Rebranding Disney Junior, working on NIN video, NIN mural in London LA, Baby Tattooville, the fun I had with NC winning the Munky King Battle, Tron work, working on Pimp My Ride, my Disney days. I can go on and on... And It keeps getting better.

7. When preparing to get to work on a painting or illustration, what rituals or activities do you practice leading up to beginning your work?

Lots of meditating on what I want to say and paint. Endless nights of conversations at two in the morning in bed with my self. It kinda sucks, but most necessary.

8. If you were only able to paint with three colors/hues for the next 3 months, what would they be and why?

Black, White, and red Iron oxide. Why? There’s something about the combination that gets me excited about creating. And yes I just referred to black and White as colors.


9. Some people feel empowered by dedicating their work to others, but you've expressed that you create art primarily for yourself; has that idea, feeling or intention changed as you continue to paint and transform as an artist?

No way... I’m selfish and that can never change. I paint to please my own eye as I hold my point of view in high regard. Making my self happy enables me to serve others with my work, it keeps the work honest.

10. In terms of work projects and upcoming creative obligations, what do you have coming up that you're looking forward to?

Nothing and It feels great! All im working on is getting better, painting larger, and trying new ideas.


birds_nest kmndz