Sand’s larger then life personality matches her huge vibrant characters that you can spot all over Los Angeles. A native to L.A., Sand is one of the hardest working artists and aims to keep her people by her side forever as she continues her sometimes arduous journey to the top. You will never find Sand excluding anyone from being apart of her art. L.A. Taco’s Desilu caught up with Sand a few weeks ago to gain some more insight into the crazy artist’s mind and to find out which foundation she chose to represent for Taco Madness, where she’ll paint live on April 5th in Grand Park.
Where did you grow up and how do you feel that your surroundings have influenced you and your art?
Sand: I grew up in East L.A. The city of Los Angeles is very competitive and the people of this city are very strong. So when it comes to my art it emulates that and it’s influenced my art in a way that I make my characters colorful, big and bold. Plus growing up in Los Angeles I was always able to see murals and graffiti done by all kinds of artists. When I was younger I remember seeing all of this art and I wanted to paint my own stuff but I had no idea how to even do a mural to begin with. I would ask the elders about it but I didn’t receive much help.
How did you get your start with painting murals?
Sand: I started about 4 years ago and my first piece wasn’t a mural it was actually two small newspaper stands on Soto and Cesar Chavez. On each stand I had painted a girl reading the newspaper. I really took my time on them and did all sorts of little details, like actually painting a little story on each paper and the girls were life size. One girl sort of looked like a chola/pin-up girl with pink fluffy hair and she was wearing high heels. When I had finished I left my MySpace Link under my pieces and before I knew it a bunch of people started messaging me and giving me props for the artwork that I had created. But I couldn’t understand why they were giving me props at first when it was just something that I wanted to do. Before I knew it I couldn’t stop, I just kept drawing and drawing after that I just kept doing better and bigger cartoons.
Besides painting your murals on walls, what other art mediums have you explored?
Sand: Yes, I’ve discovered that my art can be done on other surfaces besides a wall. For instance I’ve been painting a lot of canvases and doing stuff digitally on the computer. Now I’m able to turn my characters in vector screens and I can manipulate the colors and drop stuff exactly where I want it. I know there are more outlets then these and I will eventually expand on those too.
Being an artist that faces adversities, how do you manage to stay positive?
Sand: I think you personally as an artist can be the biggest challenge. I’ve found that when you’re an artist its like you are against yourself. It takes so much motivation to get up everyday and to get out there to show people your work. It takes a lot out of you to not let personal things get in the way of you and your creativity. You can’t be angry and wake up mad, you have to stay positive and push yourself constantly. Sometimes I do get sad and think I don’t want to paint anymore and then I almost instantly snap out of it and say “No! This is what makes me happy” and I get out there and paint a wall or a canvas and I feel so happy again. Painting is therapeutic to me its helped me grow, its my craft, career and life. With my art, I’ve been given the chance to travel and open doors for myself that would have normally been closed. I can’t imagine doing anything else but this.
What inspires your art?
Creating is something I always want to do. I always have a strong need to draw or paint something. But really when it comes down to it, people inspire me. At this stage in my career, sometimes I ask myself “how does inspiration motivate inspiration?” My inspiration comes from people when they tell me that my work inspires them. The fact that people love my art and recognize what I’m doing keeps me motivated. To know that I’m inspiring more girls to become artist is so great and rewarding.
How do you come up with your characters?
I like to go crazy when I paint, sometimes I’m in one place doing a wall or other times I will be in my studio running around throwing paint all over the place. When it comes to my characters I always try to imagine them as real people. Even though I’m my toughest critic, sometimes I will sit back and be amazed with what I created. I felt so inspired when I made “Stacks” I was so thrilled while I was sketching her out for the first time. I remember sitting with one of my friends talking to her about Stacks, we picked the color of her lips, eyes, hair and everything else. I always try to really give each of my characters a real personality.
These days it seems like a lot of artists want to be in a crew of some type but we’ve noticed that you’re a very friendly artist and that you’re always inviting everyone to be apart of the process, did you ever want to belong to some sort of “crew”?
Well I’m a game changer and I’m trying to change the way things normally are. To be honest I don’t really hang out with other artists, the people are my “crew”. I’m not a selfish person; usually artists are painting their walls alone. That to me sounds boring, I’ll go crazy if I have to be alone while I’m painting. I’ll start talking to myself in the 3rd person and people will think I’m crazier than I already am. I love to paint and create with people. I always get to know the people around the streets and neighborhoods that I’m painting a mural on. It creates more meaning when you involve the people and I tell them “this is your wall and you’re art”. So it’s better to have the locals be apart of the process so when it’s done they can appreciate it better and say they were apart of that creation. I want everyone to be apart of my movement; everyone can be apart of a Sand wall.
What do you want people to feel when they see your work?
I want people to feel that I’m the L.A. woman that’s apart of this beautiful city and that they are a part of my work. I want people to be apart of my movement. If you want to become an artist come paint with me, if you want to learn I will show you how you can start. I’m not trying to hide what I do in order to create my art. I will show you how to pick up a spray can, what kinds of paint I use and the ladders I climb. When someone comes to paint with me, not only will they meet me but they will also meet whoever comes by. There’s always a mixed crowd of people that come to participate and to see me paint.
Do you prefer showing your work in the streets or a gallery?
I prefer to show my work everywhere. Lately my team and I have been creating products. I don’t want to ever limit myself. I want to keep showcasing my work in the streets, galleries and even on people.
Earlier you mentioned your character “Stacks”, who or what is she?
Stacks is one of my newest characters. She’s still a baby to me; I only created her about two months ago. Her slogan is “Get Your Money Right” because Stacks is a hustler. We don’t know what she does to get her money but she’s stacking it up. She’s an independent beautiful woman that’s young and strong. Every three months I plan to release a new character. I want L.A. to meet all of my characters.
Can you tell us why you chose Casa Libre for your foundation to represent at Taco Madness?
I was painting a mural on Alvarado and 7th street and there was a couple of kids that kept coming by to paint with me. One of the kids had a backpack with the name “Maria” painted on it in some wild style lettering. I asked him who Maria was, and he had told me it was his mothers name but that she would never be able to see it because she was stuck in El Salvador. The kids ended up inviting me over for dinner and when I went, I was amazed. Casa Libre welcomes undocumented youth off the street in order to provide them with basic necessities. Most importantly however, Casa Libre provides the emotional, educational, and legal support that will foster healthy development, enabling our youth to pursue the “American Dream”, while protecting them from the drugs, gangs and other illicit behavior that these youth all too often fall victim to following their unaccompanied arrival to the United States.
pictures of Sand One’s art courtesy of Sand One.
This article brought to you in part by Blick Art Materials, an official sponsor of Taco Madness 2014.
Taco Madness 2014 is Curated by the DoArt Foundation.