KMNDZ: Interview with Johnny Rodriguez

Emerging star Johnny Rodriguez, has had a predilection for design and muralism even before he entered grade school. In today’s ever changing world, the balance between doing work as a commercially viable artist as well as staying true to one’s roots is not always easy achieve. Drawing on the name KMDZ,which is the is short for the Mac command + Z = undo, Johnny reflects on the human nature of change. We all wish we can take back something and do it over. Stay tuned as we pick the mind of a true artist who is truly breaking through.

Johnny rocket

CIVIL: Whats up Johnny, how are you today? I’m sure everyone would like to know how you first got started in art?

Johnny: Hey Brian! I’m doing well. Well, aside from first doing art in pre-school… I started working with art my senior year in high school at Baldwin Park.
Painting on walls for businesses, clothing lines, mural competitions… Anything I could get my hands on. I was almost
as hungry as I am now.


CIVIL: Tell me what the average day in the life of Johnny Rodriguez?

Johnny: Kiss the Fam goodbye for the day, ride my moto to work, come up with fun ways to engage people, design some bad ass stuff, moto home, more kissing, eat some ropa vieja, read to the boys, paint till 1 am, play ping pong with my wife, sleep, and repeat.


CIVIL: Sounds busy and fun. Let’s change it up a bit and talk about travel.If you had a city to get lost in while traveling.. where would it be and why?
Johnny: I love the NY smell, Chicago has amazing museums, but I would have to go with London… Even if the food sucks. Can’t beat the museums and the mixing of cultures. Its like NY on crack!!

Rocket Johnny

“The personal work is so much harder. It comes down to sacrifice. When my motorcycle buddies go out for a ride I have to stay behind to keep on schedule.”


CIVIL: Tell me about KMNDZ, what it means to you?

Johnny: It’s a way of letting people know that God loves them,that Jesus is greater than anything we can conjure  up. That nothing is more important than the state of our hearts, not our bank accounts, our popularity, our I pods, our the environment.

CIVIL: How do balance your personal artwork with the commercial work you do with companies?

Johnny: Commercial work is a must… Its  easy to do because so much of my day is dedicated to it. The personal work is so much harder. It comes down to sacrifice. When my motorcycle buddies go out for a ride I have to stay behind to keep on schedule.


Johnny Rodriguez X Linkin Park.

What is the creative process you go through while creating a piece?

Johnny: Feel it do it… Once in a while I’ll do a doodle. But I usually come up with something relevant to say and go straight to the wood and work my ass off

CIVIL: As an artist, how do you see CIVIL and what does CIVIL mean to you?

Johnny: It’s kinda of  like taking everything I grew up with mixing it in a blender and shazzzam you get Civil. Punk rock, Graf, strong typography, and Los Angeles. Yeah you guys kill it… I’m sold!!

CIVIL: Are there any new projects we should be on the lookout for?

Johnny: Yup, I’m working on a watch, in talks to do a toy, There’s the show @ the Famous Shooting Gallery San Fransisco in October… Most of my work with be done in pen with a few paintings, and I’ll make an appearance at Baby Tattooville.

8bit_1Johnny’s tribute to the 8-bit!

CIVIL: How would you like to be remembered as an artist?

Johnny: I don’t know, I think I might be happy just to be remembered…. Then again I’d settle for Bob Marley status.

Live painting by KMNDZ.

The Civil Crew thanks Johnny Rodriguez for taking the time to do this interview. Much respect! Visit Johnny at KMNDZ myspace.