KMNDZ paints from memory and experience. His compositions are reflective visual narrations filled with vibrant imagery of birds, houses, diffused weapons, and delicate ornamentation suspended within the natural world.
Deconstructed bombs and grenades are re-purposed as armor and safe-havens for animal life, decorated with strings of glass beads, pearls, and silk tassels. Abandoned wooden bird houses become newly inhabited by feathered friends that build nests among the detritus. Anthropomorphic houses make an appearance to convey the emotions of the inhabitants with expressive smiles and tear drop eyes. The idea of ‘home’ not only represents shelter and safety, but an emotional state of mind.
In “Year of Atomic Bird” the artist creates a series of paintings where a society of birds has taken it upon itself to save humanity. These birds represent thought and imagination, transcendence and divinity, freedom, strength, illumination, and empowerment. Making an appearance for the first time are four legged allies in the form of watchful wolves that represent guardianship, ritual, loyalty, and spirit. Both birds and canids become a source of higher knowledge, elegance, and purity that create harmony in an otherwise chaotic environment. The contrast between rusted weapons of destruction and actively flourishing animal life and vegetation is key to the artist’s message. By preserving, rebuilding, and guarding stewardship traditions that seem to be under attack, the “Year of Atomic Bird” shows a glimpse of a culture and society that has important choices to make.
As the artist puts it, “the exhibition is a response to physical and psychological destructiveness – and a necessary response to negativity." Additional mystical references to beauty through water towers, delicate flowers, Loteria cards and numerology represent both a vision of the past, and hope for the future.
A successful leader in the graphic design community, Johnny ‘KMNDZ’ Rodriguez has worked for some of the world’s premier design agencies and top entertainment companies, including recent large scale murals at House of Blues, Anaheim, and Warner Records DTLA. Still, the internal desire to expand creative expression beyond commercial realms comes to the forefront in all of Rodriguez’s new work. ‘KMNDZ’ is more than a moniker alluding to the ‘undo’ option on a MAC computer; it is the moniker Rodriguez’s uses for his fine art practice to reminds us we can rectify the past by focusing on the future.