Sand Oner has forged her own path from the beginning, following her instincts, finding her tribe, and painting and drawing herself a whole world of real-life dolls. With variations and personas inspired by the fierce women in her life and in the world, Sand’s works of art, design, and muralizing have captured the imagination of her many devoted followers and inspired them to honor their own inner doll-queens of beauty and power, just as she honors her own. Sand is living proof that with enough passion and vision, everything is possible.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
SAND ONER: I first knew I was an artist when I was 9 years old. I had this doll that I drew and I remember my teacher went “Oh my God! You’re such a good artist,” and I loved the feeling, I loved the praise. I really enjoyed the feeling and it stuck to me.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
I paint dolls for the modern dreamers of today. The hustler, the go-getter, the person that wants to step outside of the norm. Through my art I represent obstacles that are able to be broken down through following your dreams and creating a successful profitable business.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
If I wasn’t an artist I would be a chef or a pilot.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I did not go to art school. I hated my art teachers. I didn’t like when they would tell me that what I drew had no substance and that I had to draw plants, landscapes and real people because what I drew wasn’t going to take me nowhere. So I decided not to go to art school because I didn’t want anyone telling me how I should do my art therefore, I’m self-taught and I believe the way that I do my art is the best way.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I love L.A.; I grew up in East L.A. L.A. is the city of dreamers and of moneymakers. If you have guts and a fire inside you, you can make it in this city. People love and appreciate art here and it’s so full of opportunities if you know how to take advantage of the resources you’ve been presented with.
When was your first show?
I had my first art show in 2011, when I was 15 years old and so many people came and it made me so happy. That’s when I realized people were gravitating towards my art and it was something I could actually do.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?
I’m currently allowing my warehouse (Sand Factory) space to become a place where artists can throw an event, their first art exhibit, a pop up to start their business. I’m now helping other artists thrive with the resources that I have.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?
Michael Turner, I love his artwork. I was very inspired by his art growing up. He’s a comic book artist and I always thought he was so amazing. I would get his comic books at the liquor store near where I used to live and get inspired by his drawings over and over again. He drew these beautiful women.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
I listen to Lo Fi music. It’s a style of music that involves beats. It’s very relaxing music.
Website & social, please!
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.