If you don’t know her name, surely you know her art. If you live in SoCal, chances are you’ve come across her big-eyed and long-lashed cartoon beauties.
Raised in Los Angeles, Sand One has painted these iconic dolls for decades, and her murals can be tracked down from L.A. to New York to Puerto Rico. She’s considered a local legend and while her works of art have a huge cult following, it didn’t happen overnight. Against societal pressures and circumstances, Sand One built her empire with the power of her own expression.
“My art comes from a girl that was supposed to fit in a certain mold. Immigrant mother, single mom, no dad, low income, no resources,” said Sand One. “And I flipped that with my ladder, with my brushes, with my spray can, with my imagination and my self-motivation to persevere and not fall into the mold that was created for me.”
One thing Sand One highlights is how women who grow up in certain areas of Los Angeles are often overlooked or ignored. She finds many tend to focus on the glamorous parts of Los Angeles while erasing the people who truly make our city what it is.
“I grew up in East L.A. and there are sides to L.A. The shadows and the light. They always shine the spotlight on all the nice shit on Melrose or West L.A…. but there’s the shadows,” states Sand One. “Like me, my mom, we move in the shadows where people don’t know who we are―and I broke that. I don’t want to be invisible… vendors, artists, people that own small businesses should be highlighted. We need to humanize the people that serve the streets.”
With this in mind, Sand One often hosts community events such as her Sip & Paint Nights right out of her own warehouse (Sand Factory) in an effort to bring people from all walks of life together. It’s a place where guests are welcomed to paint alongside her and learn from each other. Another aspect that truly sets her apart is how personable she is with each person. You will often find some her fans and collectors donned in their favorite Sand Doll accessories. The best part? Is that Sand One often knows each person that walks through the door by name.
Through her humility and talent Sand One has managed to build a household name, business, and community―but she reminds us she doesn’t do it alone. She is able to maintain her business with the help of her incredible family and friends. Despite her decade-long success, she refuses to forget her roots.
“I know that are girls out there like me and when a girl sees my dolls, I want her to see herself,” she shares. “When people walk through that door I want them to feel welcomed. Whatever they are going through I want this to be the place where they are able to let that go.”
Sand One has recently launched an art school throughout July, and the classes take place inside the Sand Factory from July 12 to the 28th. You can also learn more about these art classes here.
Artist, community organizer, business mogul, and more―there is no doubt she is beyond a triple threat. Sand One is truly an inspiration for Angelenos everywhere, and is living proof that if you can dream it, you have the power to make it happen. In her own words, “Do what you want, and fucking dominate it.”