This week, we got the chance to sit down with ELA muralist Sand One. You’ve probably seen her saucer-eyed pouty-lipped chicas on the sides of buildings. Read on to find out how she got her start and what she’s all about! Find her work at sandoner.com or on the walls all around LA!
When did you realize you wanted to become an artist?
The moment I realized all I ever wanted was to surround myself with colorful things. I love playing with colors, painting live letters everywhere I go. I just love, love painting. It’s soul refreshing.
Who are some of your major influences?
I love Frida Kahlo…she had huge ovaries. LOL. I’m from East L.A. therefore I grew up looking at murals by artists like Siquieros, Botello and many other Latin artists from the late 80’s and 90’s. My murals are full of flavors and stories from my East L.A. days. All the murals I grew up around influenced me in the way I convey my message through my art.
How would you describe your style? Postmodern? Surreal? Pop art?
Contemporary, which is art that’s created now. All the artists that came before me influenced me in my colorful style. There is definitely some Pop Art influence…. It POPS!!! You cannot go anywhere around Los Angeles without seeing my dolls freshly painted on a wall. You will see one somewhere somehow. (laughs)
Can you tell us about Vampy? She soo cute — but seems so sad.
I actually made sure Vampy was the cute vampire around East Los. She’s a hopeless romantic with a vampire thirst. I drew Vampy after my own heartbreak two years ago, I felt like I was able to like but not love. I’m sure girls understand me and Vampy. Sometimes you must love your soulmate from afar. Vampy can never love. Her heart is gone :(. But mine’s not yet!! There’s still a minimal chance…. ( sighs)
How would you describe Sand Chikz and what do they say to girls (and boys) of East Los?
My Sand Chicks are like hieroglyphics to my L.A. women. My dolls emulate strength, self-respect, and happiness. I wish to keep opening many more doors full of success in my art path. Through this my dolls will keep motivating other kids from my East L.A. town and surrounding areas to chase after their crazy passions with no hesitation.
My dolls symbolize the young fearless dreamer of today.
You’ve said that your characters are inspired by real women? Who are some of these women? What inspires you in them?
Strong, unbreakable, feminine, goal minded women are the inspiration behind my dolls. If you are exactly what I mentioned you automatically will love my dolls. It’s an independent girl thing!
How did you develop your art in high school?
I hated following directions in art classes. But I’m glad I did pay attention to some lessons. It definitely influenced a bit. I always knew I would be swimming in colors. I would sketch a lot in high school, I remember those days.
East LA is obviously a big influence on your art. Can you talk about how it inspires you?
The roughness, the Chola lifestyle, 90s murals, lowrider culture and that gangster mentality. When I speak of these key cultural East Side icons, I think of this strong persona walking with a straight and secure walk down Whittier Blvd. Back arched, shoulders straight, firm face, serious look, quick conversations and with a mind of a bullet. Street smarts, strong hustle skills, a quick mind and a sharp tongue. East L.A. molds you or breaks you. It molded me into being a strong-minded woman, my feelings and desires, serious about business, full of my dreams, but ruthless when someone messes with my wellbeing and goals. East L.A. was a mother to my small dreams. Yet a jump-start to the life awaits across the L.A. River bridge that separates the East L.A. natives from the endless possibilities the West Side of Los Angeles has to offer.
Did you get a lot of support from your family for you artistic career?
My family is very traditional. Everything I have conquered, all my accomplishments, I’ve done with the unconditional love of my mother. She doesn’t understand my vision. Nonetheless, she blindly believes in me. Just her. And that’s all I need.
You’re a street artist who has appeared in galleries. How do those art worlds intersect/interact?
It’s two completely separate worlds. The streets are full of unknown strangers. Galleries are full of unknown art buyers. Same protocol, different dangers.
Can you talk to us about some of the haters and how you’ve dealt with them?
In my art world I have nothing but love from everyone around me. Every artist loves me and my work, it’s so refreshing to see how the art community embraces every artist and their styles. I’m the street art Chola, everyone loves me.
What’s coming up for you next that you’re excited about?
Omg! At the W hotel in Westwood on September 4, I will be unveiling a mural inside the hotels lobby. That should be fun!
A book is in the works. A high end clothing collection. This Halloween, my line of costumes for teen agents drops. And I’m going grocery and cake shopping for my studio ASAP!