Los Angeles-based artist Johnny Rodriguez is best known as KMNDZ, a play on the Apple “undo” function, Command + Z. In this vein, the graphic designer-turned-painter embraces the draining emotions that pervade life, those we wish we could possibly undo: sorrow, anger, and frustration. KMNDZ channels these melancholic sensations into his art.

Johnny Rodriguez, KMNDZ, art, The Citrus Report, Upper Playground, I'd Rather Love You

“I needed an emotional outlet and painting seemed like the best way to express what was eating me alive.”

Running with the age-old philosophy that sifting through emotions provides the best material for fueling one’s art, Rodriguez has come to recognize his methodology for his portraits of skeletal robots, birds, and harrowing weaponry: “I tend to gravitate toward music that is emotional… the kind of music that gently guides you into a dark alley, [and] once there it clobbers you over the head and takes your wallet,” Rodriguez explained.

Perhaps more stimulating and apparent, though, is his use of matted palettes. Recalling his time in Mexico, where he sourced his coloration style, he explains that “there, nothing stands out more than a teal house set in natures earthy tones. It’s butt ugly, yet the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.” The most blatant distinction is his long-running motif of juxtaposing gritty, metallic robots next to uplifting birds or nature-based objects.

Johnny Rodriguez, KMNDZ, art, The Citrus Report, Upper Playground, I'd Rather Love You

I’d Rather Love You, his most recent exhibit at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, was centered around his personal experiences of losing a friend who had turned into an enemy. Gazing into the sullen-look of humanoid faces graced with a slight reprieve from airy floral arrangements encasing a bomb, one can begin to comprehend this universal feeling: one we all wish we can undo, but have to endure and make the most of.

“What I’m ultimately painting about is personal relationships,” the artist divulges. “Instead of responding to hate with hate further perpetuating the situation, I’m suggesting we respond in love.”


by Ariadna Zierold

Artist Hush has released a new multiple print, after 3 months of work, “Trial & Errors”, that will be available on August 28 at onethirty3.

hush, art, artist, the citrus report, upper playground

Inspired by detritus, uses futuristic silvers and blacks clothed in a chaotic collage of colour to create a sensual blizzard of femininity, power and loss. This multiple print is a hand painted, 15 layer screenprint with UV gloss varnish on Somerset Satin handmade cotton paper.



The London art dealer Steve Lazarides plans to open a very different kind of fair at the end of next April. The former representative of the street artist Banksy is due to build a temporary funfair on a ten-acre site next to the O2 arena in southeast London.

steve lazarides, fairground, art, citrus report, upper playground, london

The functioning fairground, which will be designed by artists,  will include a wall of death, carousel, shooting ranges, music acts and gourmet street food, but it will also act as “one big performance piece”, Lazarides says. There will also be an over-18 section for adults.

Around 20 artists, musicians and performers are due to participate including the Parisian photographer JR, Robert Del Naja of the music group Massive Attack and the DJ and producer James Lavelle, who is co-organising the show with Lazarides. “I wanted to include people who have pushed the boundaries of culture,” Lazarides says.

JR is due to create a giant snow globe; while the Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto (who goes by the name of Vhils) plans to carve a face into the ground that will double as a maze.

Tickets will cost around £15 and the fairground has a maximum capacity of 5,000. None of the works will be for sale, according to Lazarides, who says that he hopes to recoup costs via ticket sales. There are also plans to send a core element of the fair on a tour around the world, possibly starting in the Middle East.

Knight Dragon, the company that is developing the Greenwich Peninsula where the fair will be installed, and the events and festivals firm Vision Nine are supporting the project, which is expected to cost in the region of £1m.

Inspired by traditional British fairgrounds such as Bartholomew’s Fair, which was established in London in the 12th century, this is Lazarides’s most ambitious project to date. The dealer previously transformed the Old Vic Tunnels into immersive installations during Frieze week in October. “The fairground idea has been 25 years in the planning,” Lazarides says. “It’s time to bring some fun to town.

via The Art Newspaper.

MOMENTS Festival 2014: A Celebration of Independent Art & Cuture

Upper Playground favorite, Jeremy Fish is planning to be in Malaga, Spain to lead workshops and and to present an exhibition of his work at the  MOMENTS Festival.  The festival focused on indie contemporary culture includes films, workshops, lectures, music, photography and art.  If you’re traveling through Spain beginning of Nov. stop by to check out the festival:

moments 2014 poster

About the Festival:

MOMENTS is a multidisciplinary festival aimed at those who love the most daring and independent contemporary culture. It is also a place to enjoy documentary films, workshops, lectures, music, art and photography, underground literature… and be sumerged inside the subcultures of skateboarding and This festival is a unique opportunity to discover the history of these alternative scenes that were born thanks to the Do It Yourself philosophy deeply rooted in punk and hip-hop and has forever changed the concept of art around the world. A pioneer event in Spain that will be held from the 5th to the 7th November at the San Telmo School of Art in Málaga in order to highlight the kind of work that usually has no place either in advertising or in major international showcases. But they are all 100% authentic and truly

Place: San Telmo Art School (Málaga).

Ticket price: Free (except workshops)

Dates: 5th, 6th and 7th of November

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BCTION: 50 Japanese Artists take over a soon to be demolished building in Tokyo



Upper Playground artist, USUGROW took part in a large scale community art project called BCTION that just opened its doors to the public this week on Sept 1st.  BCTION is an art project at a soon-to-be demolished building in Kojimachi, Tokyo, with over 50 up-and-coming Japanese artists.

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The artists were allowed to express their art all over the floors and walls in the building, destined for destruction. The show will be open from September 1st  to the 15th, 12PM to 8PM Daily.


Check out Usugrow and Yu Suda’s Interview in Japanese and additional Interviews and Photos of works in progress here:

BCTION: 2014/9/1-9/15 [12:00-20:00]

More info at

Full Coverage of Urban Nation’s Project M/5 Part 1

Here are some “Behind the scenes”-documentation of Urban Nation’s Project M/5 which took place last week in Berlin. Photographer, Henrik Haven was there to document the whole event and sends us the latest photos with detailed coverage of all artists and their work.

This year’s PM/5 is curated by Roland Henry and VNA Magazine and features a massive mural (and walls) by Eine and window installations by artists: Sickboy, Nick Walker, Xenz, Will Barras , Mark Lyken, Pam Glew, Steff Plaetz, O TWO, SheOne and Ben Frost.  Some of these artists were busy at work completing additional walls out side and inside the Urban Nation’s Headquarters as well.

In addition, Urban Nation organized new outdoor walls by Above, David Walker, Klone Yourself and Don John plus indoor walls/pieces by Anders Gjennestad aka Strøk, James Bullough, 45rpm, Yohnagao, Eli Troinin and Bosoletti.

It’s really an enormous group of talented artists  and we are excited to share what’s been done:

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Upper Playground x Sam Flores releases limited edition, Tiger Kids Wood Panel


Upper Playground and Sam Flores is proud to release this week the TIGER KIDS limited edition laser etch print on solid wood.  These rare laser etched wood panels with classic Twelve Grain art work by Sam Flores have been beautifully produced ready to be hung as is. The solid birch wood frames are 8×10 inches by 1-5/8 inches deep and have been hand stained and varnished with care.  Only 30 of these wood panels were produced, individually signed and numbered by the Artist. They will be available starting July 23rd in store and online at


Sam Flores releases six new giclée prints with Upper Playground

Sam Flores releases six new high-quality giclée prints exclusively for Upper Playground. These new prints printed on award-winning, Moab Entrada Rag Bright paper using Genuine Epson Ultrachrome Pigmented Inks ensure the best archival quality available for these classic Twelve Grain designs. Check out the list below and click into the image for more info:

boombox-samflores-upperplayground MaritalDispute-samflores-upperplayground PoeticTragedy-samflores-upperplaygroundSamFlores-UpperPlayground-heads roots-samflores-upperplaygroundsake-samflores-upperplayground

Sculptural installations by Daniel Firman

Daniel Firman’s fascinating sculptural works of conceptually challenging and humorous installations are worth a closer look.  We examine his two elephant sculptures along with his recent works represented by the notorious Gallerie Perrotin:


Würsa 18,000 km above the Earth” 2006-2008
Elephant sculpture/taxidermy / Taxidermie d’éléphant
224 1/2 x 98 1/2 x 55 1/8 inches / 570 x 250 x 140 cm

Daniel-Firman-Château de Fontainbleau-001


“Nasutamanus” 2012
Fiberglass, polymer / Fibre de verre, polymère
90 1/2 x 207 3/4 x 48 1/2 inches / 230 x 528 x 123 cm

Daniel-Firman-Nasutamanus-006  Daniel-Firman-Nasutamanus-004 Daniel-Firman-Nasutamanus-003 Daniel-Firman-Nasutamanus-002


“Drone project” 2013
Guitars, discs, effect pedals, amplifiers / Guitares, disques, pédales d’effet, amplis
Variable size / Dimensions variables

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“Hortense” 2014
Resin / Résine
64 1/8 x 19 3/4 x 17 3/4 inches / 163 x 50 x 45 cm

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Jesus Benitez opens his first North American solo show at Fifty24SF Gallery, San Francisco – July 11th, 2014

Jesús Benítez_Flyer_Back_FINAL

Mexican muralist and illustrator Jesús Benítez (also known as Dhear) is recognized for his unique work on a variety of mediums that range from paintings, sculptures to murals installed all over the world. With roots in graffiti, Benítez developed his signature style from a complex evolution of techniques influenced by his passion in literature, Sci-Fi movies, nature, and the works of Moebius and Roger Dean. His fantastical characters and subject matters foretell a breaking down of human structures and its technology. It also focuses on how these deconstructions can take on organic forms that merge with bacteria, fungi and parasitic life forms resulting in strange creatures and psychedelic worlds. Fifty24SF Gallery is proud to present ‘Thésis’, the first North American solo-show by Jesús Benítez, showcasing his unique presence in the world of street art and muralists.

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