Artist Genre: Muralist
Where do you live: DTLA
My name is Sand and I paint giant dolls with huge eyelashes and juicy lips, that’s my signature style. I grew up in East LA. My dad left before I was born because he found out I was going to be a girl. Painting is my passion and I was 16 when I started. At the time, I had a boyfriend who owned a graffiti shop. I thought the scene and lifestyle was so cool and I wanted to be a part of it. I would ask my boyfriend to go out and paint with them. He always told me no, “you a girl, and bitches don’t paint.” I eventually left that asshole and painted anyway. I didn’t go to college, I didn’t go to art school, I just wanted to paint. I worked at Pollo Campero—making $100 every two weeks—and I got fired because they told me I was “worthless and not adding value” to the company. My last check was $104 dollars. That was my worth. One hundred and four dollars. It was at that moment I realized I wasn’t going to work for someone else because I was worth so much more than that. To this day I keep the check in my purse as reminder. So, I went nuts and painted everywhere—I wanted to see my characters on every building and so I did.
I painted for years in the little garage at home with no lights. There were so many paint supplies in the kitchen my mom couldn’t even cook. My family was like, “what the fuck are you doing?” When I was 19, I went to my first auction with all these fancy people there. My piece auctioned for $100. I was stoked! I knew at that moment that other people were starting to see the true value in my work. I continued to paint huge murals and eventually businesses and corporations started paying me to have their walls done. And then, BOOM, fast forward: now I have collectors worldwide, showing in galleries across the U.S. and I’ve started a clothing line, I put my work on pillows, on canvasses, basically anything, and sell it. I’ve become a businesswoman. I’ve learned how to support myself off of my art. I’m the sole provider for my family (brother, sister, and mom) and that’s what keeps me going.
My characters have the same style, but they’re all different; some have blue hair, some are sailors, some have teddy bear boyfriends. They’re strong females with different stories; every single doll I have has a different personality. I’m a motivational artist–my art is dedicated to women. I’m the voice of women. My work is a message to women to chase your dreams and that you can do great things without a man. I want to see women progress and find happiness in something that uplifts them. I never knew my art would start a movement—I have women that call me saying that they’ve started businesses because of my work; they had the courage to leave things that weren’t making them happy and pursue their dreams. And that’s the power of my art