East L.A. meets Santa Ana

East L.A. artist Sand One comes home to play in Santa Ana.


Marielena Martinez

Owner Sand One opening the door to her gallery located in Fourth Street in Santa Ana on Sunday, September 23, 2019.

On Saturday, September 22, 2019, artist Sand One celebrated the grand opening of her new art gallery, Sand One Studio, in Santa Ana at the Historic Spurgeon Building located on Fourth Street in DTSA (DownTown Santa Ana). New and old collectors excitedly lined up to meet Sand and view the gallery.

Coming over here, I’m like damn, why didn’t I ever paint out here?”

— Sand One

Sandra, who goes by only her artist name “Sand,” knew she always wanted to be an artist as a young girl. Since age 17, she actively pursued her dream of becoming an artist. Despite the many obstacles she faced, such as coming from a poor home, a mother who worked at a taco truck making $3-4 dollars an hour, and people who doubted her skill, Sand thrived in the L.A. art world.

Sand began by riding her bike around East L.A. offering her services to anyone who would accept them. She learned to face rejection and used it as fuel to keep going. If five people said no, eventually one person would say yes, giving her the ability to provide for her family. She painted advertisements for store owner’s windows and murals all around Los Angeles for free. Even if she got ripped off on a job, she knew that one day it would pay off. 

Cynthia Molina
Sand One’s mom, Maria (center) helps fans shop the latest collection. Photo taken Sunday, Sept. 23, 2019 at Sand One Art Gallery.

Sand is self taught. As she said in a video on her website, “I have a college degree in the streets.”

Sand then traded her bike for a bucket as local jobs poured in. As long as her undocumented mother got up every single day to provide for her family, she knew she had to keep going.

Sand began to gain recognition for her art in 2010, especially the murals she painted around Los Angeles. This growing success allowed her to bring her ideas to reality, she said that she would tell herself, “Eventually people are going to come around, eventually someone’s going to notice your art. Eventually girls are going to go crazy and make a line and love you and cry and tell you how much they want to own your art and whatever I make, it’s going to be wanted by many, but right now you have paid no dues so keep painting your frees Sand.” She was right.

Cynthia Molina
Sand One wore her unreleased bag with her original artwork on the day of the grand opening of her art gallery. Photo taken Saturday, Sept. 22, 2019.

Collectors patiently waited for the doors to open, one collector, Dina Carillo who has been following Sand since 2009, said, “it inspires me to go out and do stuff, not just to sit around, so far like I got a new job, I’ve changed stuff in my house around and done just what she says,” when asked how Sand’s art inspires her. 

Once inside the gallery, Maria, Sand’s mother expressed that, “La verdad que no, le gusta pintar, desde niña pinta. Sabía lo que quería desde chiquita. Pero llegar hasta donde está no, gracias a Dios.” In English it translates to: “She liked to paint ever since she was a child. And knew what she wanted as a little girl but to get this far to where she is today, is to thank God.”

Sand mentioned on social media that it was risky to open a shop in Santa Ana so when asked why she said, “It’s a gamble. I’m not from here, I’m from L.A., so I’m coming to a whole different county but whenever I come out here, especially Santa Ana, a lot of girls come up to me.”

Sand wanted to open a shop in Santa Ana because she knew she had something to offer, “I’m bringing the hood and I’m bringing culture, like, I’m bringing art. And women like I, who come from the streets of L.A., so coming over here, I’m like damn, why didn’t I ever paint out here?” said Sand.

With her art gallery open for business Thursday-Sunday, Sand wants her fans to be able to own her art. For a preview of her latest creations follow Sand on Instagram @sandonerart and @sandoner .