1 Los Angeles based street artist “SAND ONER” has blessed us with everything from walls, clothing, trucks, and food stands from L.A. to MIA with her colorful and stylized “CHOLAS.” Now IHLET gets a chance to sit down and talk with the talented artist about L.A., her artwork, and the confident young women of today. Enjoy!
2 IHLET: There’s a lot of spirit in your work. The girls you paint seem to have a life of their own and tell a story. Is that a fair assessment?
SAND ONER: Sure they represent the adventurous woman of today. Willing to break out of the norm and be unique. Independent and with a strong presence. Well-spoken, hood/street smart, classy and just a bit trashy. (Laughs.)
3 IHLET: What inspired you to get into street art and how did you develop the style you use today?
SAND ONER: Street art is the most open form of art. Its exposed to the eyes of the streets. Everyone can see what your mind projects. Everyone is silently watching. I can’t think of any other way to show my art to the world. I been painting for a long time now. Every wall I paint and person I meet teaches me something new- either a skill or a life lesson to live by. I have been blessed to meet so many artists throughout my career that have taught me so much in evolving my cartoons. The positive the negative, it has all shaped my style. I just want to paint girls with big hopeful eyes, luscious dark lashes and juicy pink lips. I like to call my cartoons “Classy Cholas.” Classy Chola: (klasē choh-luh) (noun) A classy well mannered, thug minded woman. Refined in her approaches yet strong and persuasive in her decisions. Accentuated eyelashes, juicy colored lips, sleek hair, tight dresses and a nice pair of heels are the usual characteristics. A Chola’s mentality is influenced by the rough street life she was raised amongst, yet in public she is a classy lady. She believes in gangster being a mentality not just an appearance.
4 IHLET: ‘Chola’ style is common in southern California around east LA, San Diego, OC, and even as far as NYC. In Miami they are called ‘chongas’ A lot of street artists seem to believe it should remain an underground thing but you seem to embrace the idea of commercializing your art and taking it further with clothing and things of that nature. Why is that?
SAND ONER: I love knowing that there’s people in the world that enjoy my art and wish to have it. If I can make a person happy through my cartoons, by all means. I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness to me is painting every day. I want to paint every single day and anywhere I can. Until I can’t paint no more and just realize maybe art is not for me. But for now I’m painting the fuck out of L.A (laughs). I would like to wear some Nike tennis shoes with my cartoons one day, maybe some sweaters and New Era hats too. Why not…life is short, stay underground, or get on the limelight. What ever makes you happy. What ever floats your boat!
5 IHLET: What is it about Los Angeles that you love the most?
SAND ONER: The Thugs! The Corn On the Cob. The Hustlers in every hood that stay on their dam grind pushing for a better future. The dealers, scammers, tacos, all you can eat $9.99 Korean BBQ, intellectual college students, the wannabe artist, single mommas, players, crack heads, eses, the bloods the crips, south siders, the fucken bullshit ass cops with their “I WILL TAKE YOU TO JAIL” syndrome, the hood rats and my beautiful mother that I love so much .AHH!! L.A is a melting pot of everything. I love LA. It’s a daily competition to make it every day. Survival of the fittest. Only the gangster minded survive (laughs). L.A has made me a go getter. It makes me work three times harder, and seek for opportunities instead of lying on my couch, online surfing the web eating Hot Cheetos. And I love the many art forms that crowd Los Angeles making it the perfect epitome to grow as an artist. I LOVE YOU L.A.!
6 IHLET: What is it about Los Angeles as a whole or scene that maybe you don’t like?
SAND ONER: The negativity, close minded, and unappreciative individuals that attempt to shatter a dreamer’s spirit. The ones that have been left behind and forgotten in time will always attempt to bring a new L.A. soul full of dreams and energy down to their level. But then again that’s what makes L.A people ruthless! Ruthless all day erry day! Can’t stop won’t stop! SOOWOOP! Kiss this boo-tay (hysterical laughs while holding a taco)
7 IHLET: Your artwork, it depicts a strong and confident young woman, How important is self confidence in what you do?
SAND ONER: They embody and portray that ‘L.A. Woman’ attitude. There’s confidence in all my approaches. I believe in having everything you want in life. Being shy, cocky or unsure of your full potential will not get you anywhere. I come from the land of humble hustlers. L.A has taught me to pound the payment and seek after big fishes in the pond I swim through. My cartoons represent the “Classy Chola” in me; Strong, gangster, smart, street smart, genuine, happy, hopeful, womanly, big lashed and a hood. Classy for life!
8 IHLET: Lastly, what would you say to a young woman aspiring to be a female artist?
SAND ONER: Get your ass up and paint!! Don’t get pregnant. Love is useless. No love. All hustle. Leave your lover at home and forget your lazy non-dreamer friends. It’s a lonely road, you will lose a lot of acquaintances. But when you’re swimming backwards in your own pool, dining and wining in all the restaurants you used to walk by so many times wishing you could eat there (instead of dollar menu or tacos) but never entered because you knew you couldn’t afford it- That’s when you’ll feel rewarded. All you need is drive and confidence. Listen to lots of Too Short, Lil Kim, Eazy E and TuPac they will teach you all the swag you need. Just Do It.