Sand One Interview
By Matthew J
Sand One is a beaner from East L.A! (I’m joking). Sand is an independent self-sufficient young artist pursuing an established name/career in the fine arts/street art world. Where is she from? East Los Angeles California Baby! What does she represent? Independence, street smarts, dedication commitment, self-respect, traveler, wonderer, hustler, juggler of many trades, unstoppable, unbreakable, untameable.
Ok, now that we have the overview, let’s get a bit more in-depth. How did you get your start in the graffiti?
It’s been less than 4 of me deciding I was going to be a street artist. I love painting and so it began one day in one December, right after high school, I was broke (moneyless) my mom was divorcing and asked if I would commit to contributing to the family needs. Oh man! I was going crazy! I mean I hate working. I used to work at a fried chicken place called “Pollo Campero”, until I was fired for eating most of the profit on a daily basis. So I decided I never wanted to feel that horrible feeling that made me feel small and insignificant; as they told me to take my last check and never come back. I decided to never bow down and work for anybody. So my mother is divorcing and I have to work?! Nice. Not happening. I decided I was going to be a pie baker since it was November near Thanksgiving. My boyfriend, at the time, laughed at me as I told him my survival plan, he said it was a “grandmother’s hustle”, a backwards hustle (ha-ha, so much for mental support ).I went door to door selling cheesecakes and pumpkin pies to everyone that I knew, my drug counselors, my mother’s co-workers, neighbors, you name it! I was hustling it to them. Now that was the beginning of my never -ending street hustle. I made $300 profit; from stuff that I bought with food stamps. I was ghetto balling! So the next step was double that money. In the hood, we double money in a dirty ways (smiles) but I was not going that route. I went shopping that week, and on the street I was shopping at I saw two fat guys window painting. I asked what, how and why they were doing it. The next day I decide to be a window painter and that’s where my street art vocation initiates. From pies and window painting to pay the bills, to in your freaking face, cute girls murals on walls all over the slums of Los Angeles, Miami, Mexico City, Arizona, San Francisco ,Puerto Rico, Chicago, Guatemala and counting. I’m happy to be telling you my story, and I haven’t even gone through art school yet, that might not be a chapter in my book (laughs).
Do you think going to an art-school would benefit your work? There are obvious benefits to school, but do you feel in the world of street art, that college/university methods can add to your work or would it hinder your progress? I’m not trying to mold your thinking, I’m just curious to know your thoughts… sometimes I question the way art is taught in school.
This is my honest opinion: in school you will never learn the value of pounding the pavement raw-straight-from-the-streets. I am not against college I just can’t sit still so I do what suits me best. I believe in quality, so I push myself to learn new ways of coloring my cartoons, new mediums. I’m teaching myself as I go. I know I have a lot to learn and my stuff is not the best looking but I’m doing great things with what I learned off my kitchen table. I want to keep my street art organic; rugged, 100% hood breed. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m just afraid to sit on a desk and take someone else’s direction and perceptions in what art is and how it should be done. I paint how I want. I draw how I feel deep inside – so to me it’s right. As for me attending school now? Not for a minute, not at this time. Is there a school for gangsters? I want to go enrol there so I can learn some new skills and trades.
I came up my name; it means Sand blasting your wall ese! (lol) .Sand Blasters are very potential, high pressure cleaning devices, I guess I can relate to them. I’m pressure sensitive.
Pressure sensitive, really? Care to elaborate on that [laughing]??
Okay, homie! Now you are being a serious perv. I’m sensitive as in if you stroke me and I’ll blast your wall with a cartoon. Oh gosh, that kind of sounds bad! Hahaha. Okay, NEXT QUESTION PLEASE!!! There are kids reading this for God’s sake!
[Laughing] Ok, next question, let’s get back on track. Do you consider yourself a graffiti artist or a street artist?
Street artist, I’m consistently painting maybe like a graffiti artist would. But my forte is Street art, and I am so happy to be a part of Los Angeles urban arts movement and all over the world as well, I don’t think I can ever be normal. Abnormal for life!
Everybody interprets art in a different way based on individual preference and with those [preferences] comes different definitions as to what this culture truly represents. Would you share me your thoughts and feelings on about this form of art? What is it about graffiti/street art that draws you into it?
Graffiti? Gosh, it’s so free. It’s a worldwide art form; it’s like marijuana, the first step towards a stronger high. It’s everywhere; on cracks and walls, colors, structure, haters and anonymity. I love it. So many attempt, but fail. I hear it all the time..”Oh I used to write but then I stopped”, “OH I used to do graffiti but then I grew out of it”, WATAFAK? You became a giant and grew out of the world’s most gigantic art form, which even grandmothers are doing it! It’s the influence to street art, I look at graffiti for inspiration in my street art, it’s not a fade or a style, it’s a lifestyle full of struggles and egos and not much money. Thing is everybody in every corner of the world is having their own graffiti problems. I LOVE GRAFFITI and STREET ART! Here’s a thought: Just fuckin’ do it! And to the girls: GET YOUR ASS UP AND GO PAINT!
Recently, you put on huge show in LA called, “Bow Ties”, which turned out to be a huge success. Could you tell us a bit about that show, its history, and the concept(s) behind it?
I build my solo show from scratch, found a gallery, obtained sponsors, and brought together 12 beautiful smart women to join me in order to build a good exhibit. What was the end result? Awesomeness. The artwork was off the hook, good for a little East L.A chick, que no? The exhibit was about empowering young independent females, using the theme “Bow Ties”. Since bow ties represent masculinity we were just playing off that. For the whole month of my exhibit I focused on having cartoons on street murals and on my fine artwork wearing black and white bow ties. It was very exciting to meet all the individuals that support and enjoy viewing my art. Thanks to all that attended my exhibit!
I have always drawn girls, Jessica Rabbit, Poison Ivy, Witch Blade, and The Little Mermaid. I’m obsessed with the female form, the delicateness of the lines, body expressions, and facial features. So I decided to paint giant girls, its empowering in a male dominated world, you cannot go by without observing them. The enormous lashes that I put on my cartoons come from my mother; she puts so much mascara she should have already been sponsored by a make-up company. Lashes brand my cartoons with classiness, the voluptuousness and roundness of their physical figure gives them sensuality and a true woman’s feel. The colors I use are vibrant, and fruity. My style is not yet set, it’s still under ongoing development, still experimenting.
[A Sand Chick is] the kind of girl you fear at a job interview, if you think too much, she will take your job position with her astuteness and witty personality. They have a concealed gangsta swagger, lots of classiness and sensuality. Beat her to the punch? She’ll move on and never acknowledge your existence. Insult and criticize her? No worries she’s too busy buying a dress, high heels and mascara for her featured appearance on a wall somewhere in the world. Sand Chickz love Cheesecake, money, gifts, traveling, exquisite dishes, smart educated thugs. And they love shaking they’re goodies to the beats of Snoop Dogg, Tu-Pac, Too Short, Nate-Dogg, Gang Starr, Al-Green, Isley Brothers, Cypress Hills,R-Kelly, Mariah Carey and Classical Music.
How would you describe the LA scene? What does it mean for you to get outside and paint on the streets?
L.A has built the challenge instinct in me. There’s so much of everything only the most consistent outshine. It’s beautiful! I’m one in a million here in Los Angeles so I feel the need to daily push myself, I never want to show a painting and call it “abstract” because in reality my ass can’t paint for shit! So many girls SUCK balls, so they doodle and paint their clothes to assimilate the artist look. “Ay mija por dios! “ When I leave L.A I feel free to run buck wild all over the place, confidence is the key, and I have so much of it I will soon auctioned on E-Bay. Get yours!
Personally, I feel honored since all of Conart’s artists are so sick! “Guys, don’t be scared of me, I just want to paint”. I love CONART for what they started, the name they represent. I always knew of them, so when I got the call I was pretty stoked. It’s an honest brand; they have helped open doors for me in certain aspects. Glad to be working along the lines of great brands.
I’m a huge fan of Los Angeles graffiti and street art; there seems to be such diversity, both stylistically and in the individual artists. What is it about the city of Los Angeles that has caused it to steadily produce so many talented writers and graffiti artists?? There must be something in the air or water because the people seem to be reinventing themselves constantly.
Competition, the city of opportunities, too much of everything makes you perfect your craft to the up most details. I know right! Los Angeles has some top notch shit. I think were rough out here. We eat off of each other. Beat someone to the punch over respect. It’s swaggerism, respect, an image and a culture. There’s a group and a world here for everyone, the gangs, the artist, the hipsters, nerds, transsexuals, bisexuals. Low tolerance to bullshit
As you were coming up, in graffiti and developing your art, who took the time to look out for you and teach you the ways of the culture? It’s a sad but true cliche that female writers usually get less support starting out, so I want to know who helped you out and how did that help impact you?
Truly supported me and pushed me to join the whole graffiti /street art craziness: MANDOE MAK,CAB LOD K2S,CALE K2S STN,ATOMIK TSC,BUK 50,THC,honored to have had their acceptance and teachings of the culture I was entering.
What is some advice you would like to pass along to writers -female or male- who are starting up in graffiti now?
Go buy some cheap paint and get busy! Don’t really stress it or try to understand why you want to paint. Just run with that feeling, that instinct that tells you to paint. Listen to no one but your own self. Find walls, trucks, paint everything and anything that’s visible to the bird’s ( chirp,chirp, lol). Never fall for internet comments it’s just an illusion apart from the real world. Keep your friends close, for they will reassure you when you begin to doubt your art endeavors. And enemies? Huh? What’s that?
Puro Pinche Party! (Pure Partying) I will get pregnant, go on child support, and end my art career. Ok I’m playing. It’s more like this; traveling to Europe for sure, while there I will be swimming backwards in the Death Sea, finding a good European boyfriend that understands that painting will always come first , bigger projects, maybe I’m coming up with a coloring book. I am looking forward to Art Basel in Miami, this December. Look for more Sand T shirt designs, [designing] some shoes and backpacks. And to just stay focused on the grind; never settling for less nor letting negative comments obstruct my path. Here’s something to go by when there’s crack and rocks in your path;”Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.” — Bruce Lee.
Let no one get in your way baby!
At this particular moment, what are your biggest aspirations/goals in life? They don’t have to necessarily be graffiti related.
Be at a better position than the one I am at the moment- mentally, monetary, and emotionally.
Teach my brother his time tables, which he has a hard time learning.
My hair grows so freaking slow. I can’t wait to have it long.
Have my own apartment in Echo Park or Venice so I listen loudly to Too Short “I need A Freak” extremely loud!
Without being shut down, and so I can bring in all my booty calls without having to say hi to my mom whenever they walk in (laughs).
Learn how to cook Thai Food and Sushi
Get my mom off of working for eveeer.
Lose 20 pounds so I can feel extra hot when I’m climbing on a ladder!
Eat more cheesecakes. I love cheesecake, all countries are welcome!
Find my European lover; he must be 6′2 inches or taller (smiles). This is so out of context but that’s what’s on my mind!
I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I said what I said, and I meant it. I said I was going to paint huge cute girls and travel. And drive around the streets and have my girls posted in every city.
Be sure to check out Sand One’s blog: sandoner.blogspot.com