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 is

Sand 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

A Sand One mural at the north entrance to I-95 at 54th Street.
A Sand One mural at the north entrance to I-95 at 54th Street.

A Sand One mural at the north entrance to I-95 at 54th Street.

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.

Sand One recently painted this mural at NW 5th and 23rd Street.
Sand One recently painted this mural at NW 5th and 23rd Street.

Sand One recently painted this mural at NW 5th and 23rd Street.
When did you start painting?

It's been a year and a half.

That's it?

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.

Sand One's mural outside of Pike's on 29th Street and N. Miami Avenue.
Sand One's mural outside of Pike's on 29th Street and N. Miami Avenue.

Sand One's mural outside of Pike's on 29th Street and N. Miami Avenue.
Is there competition for the best walls and buildings?

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

artist.

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

painting too.

To learn more about Sand One, visit her blog at sandoner.blogspot.com.

A graff'd up backboard for the Art Basel NBA exhibit this December by atomik & sand.
A graff'd up backboard for the Art Basel NBA exhibit this December by atomik & sand.

A graff'd up backboard for the Art Basel NBA exhibit this December by atomik & sand.

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