Sand One, a Female Graffiti Artist From L.A., Paints Miami Cute
When we compiled a list of ladies appearing in Miami's graffiti ("Whores to Shrews: A Guide to Graffiti's Female Archetypes
)," we assumed that all that T&A was painted by dudes. We were wrong. We recently spoke with the artist of our Bimbo and Hooker with a Heart of Gold picks, an 18-year-old Latina from Los Angeles. Her name isSand One
, and she comes into town pre-Basel to find walls to paint in the hopes of spreading her brand.
Sand One painted the two murals in our Whores to Shrews list last February for last year's Art Basel. And she just spent a week in Miami, painting two new murals (pictured after the jump) and participating in a graffiti/NBA project for this December's Art Basel.
We spoke to her about the shit she gets for being a lady graffiti artist, the inspiration behind her cartoon gals, and why she likes the Miami graffiti scene better than L.A.'s
New Times:Are your characters based on people you know?
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Sand One: They're just girls. I'm very influenced by the Latina culture
because I'm a Latina. I'm 18 so most of the people around me are
gangsta girls, hood girls, so they're very bitchy and mean. That's why I
loved your descriptions. People always asked me "How do you picture your
girls if they were real?" I picture them conceited, saying "What are you
looking at? Is there a problem?" They have attitude. The area that I
live in -- the ghetto is in East L.A. -- there's a lot of attitude.
Do you only do the girl cartoon characters?
I love doing the cartoons. They compliment someone's letters. Mostly
everyone in graffiti does letters. I put my cartoons on the side like on
the mural outside Pike's. When you see letters, most people who don't
support graffiti, think "Ugh, graffiti." But when you see the letters and
my characters, it makes it look more mellow. It looks more like art, and
people don't judge it as bad.
Do you use brushes or spray paint?
Everything you saw I did with brushes, but now I've pushed myself to
only use spray paint. I get picked on a lot. People say graffiti is only
with spray paint. Everything I do in the future will be spray paint.
It's my comeback.
How does it change the designs?
They look way different. With brushes, they look cleaner and sharper.
When I use spray paint, I can only do big faces. I can't do full body.
It would be chaos.When did you start painting?
It's been a year and a half.
I got out of high school and thought: I just love painting. If I can make
something out of what I do, then I'll keep on going with it. There are
so many people in their 30s that are still struggling, still starving.
Their work is so beautiful, and it angers me.
So you didn't have an art background?
I paint everyday. I try to get jobs painting - doing sign painting. I
make sure that everything I involve myself with involves painting. I also have a
line of vintage purses. I put my cartoon characters on them and sell
them at boutiques. I also knock on every door and ask, do you need a sign? Do you
need a logo?
Are there many female graffiti artists?
There are female graffiti artists. But because I'm so young, they don't
give me credit. Most of them, because they have so much seniority, don't come around.
But yes, it's a male dominant scene. Females are very limited.
What are the differences between the Miami and L.A. graffiti scenes?
Miami is more supportive. Maybe because my stuff is different or because
I'm a girl. I had a solo show when I was in town in February, and I sold
a lot of stuff. L.A. is too crowded, There are too many artists.
There's so much tension, everybody is competitive. Nobody opens up and
says: Let's support this person.
Yes, there are fights about walls. If you come to L.A., you'll see my
cartoons everywhere - trucks, walls, everywhere. You have to like me, if
you come to L.A., or else you're going to have a heart attack. I've had
encounters where I'm painting a wall and this guy comes up to me and
says "This is my wall." And I told him: It's actually the guy who owns
the store's wall.
There's a lot of people in L.A. that say my art shouldn't be done,
because it's pretty girls. They have a thing about graffiti -- that
graffiti shouldn't be pretty. They consider graffiti to be tags. It
shouldn't be pretty and done by a girl. Nobody erases my stuff but I
hear it a lot. I'll be at a show and a guy will come up to me and say
"You should be at home cooking." I just get so mad.
I've been getting arrested a lot even though everything I do is legal.
As a female, I feel like I'm an easy target. I feel like I'm a prize for
them. I always get permission first. I paint signs for living so I
don't want to make my customers go crazy. I think people have been
calling the cops on me because they don't want to see a girl as an
The police had a file on me. I told them that each and every surface is
with permission. I was like I'm not the vandal, there are people outside
right now raping, selling drugs...They let me go two days after. They
wanted me to turn other people in. I think it's because I'm a girl. They
thought I was vulnerable, but I don't want to turn someone in and ruin
their lives. In such a male dominated world, people target females when
they see them doing something different.
What are you working on for Art Basel?
I'm in an NBA show for Art Basel where there'll be glass backboards from a local
stadium and all the show's artists will paint them with their style. I'm
going to paint one with one of my characters. And then there'll going
to be auctioned during Art Basel. I'll be there during the show live
To learn more about Sand One, visit her blog at sandoner.blogspot.com.
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