Last week Los Angeles-based artist Sand One stopped for some food at Luzmila’s Mexican Restaurant on Broadway. She had never been to the restaurant or even to Eureka before. About an hour later she was painting a mural on the side of business.
When Sand sees a place she wants to paint, she just walks in and says “I’m Sand and I want to paint your wall for free,” she told the Outpost in a phone interview Friday.
Once Sand had permission to paint Luzmila’s, she got to work right away. She went to Ace Hardware to buy the spray paint and started on a large, doe-eyed doll figure — Sand’s signature style. Luckily the restaurant had a ladder for the self-described “pint-sized” artist, who is only five feet tall.
Sand makes her living off of her line of original dolls and merchandise and owns and operates the Sand Gallery and Boutique in Orange County (temporarily closed due to the pandemic), a studio in downtown LA, and an online store.
Though last week was her first trip this far north, Sand said, she has
been to Southern Humboldt before and has had a long time fascination
with Humboldt and the “weed culture.” A friend of hers used to tell her stories of his time in Humboldt and work in the cannabis industry and this inspired Sand to create one of her dolls named “Stoney,” Today Stoney is one of the most popular dolls in the Sand’s collection, she said.
In fact, Stoney was one of the reason’s Sand came to the area. She wanted to bring her beloved doll “home to Humboldt,” she said, and Sand is in the process of making a short film about Stoney’s homecoming and her backstory.
While on her trip to the area Sand also painted some of her signature
art on the inside of a yet-to-open Arcata restaurant owned by her
friends, BeniHumboldt — a teppanyaki style restaurant planned for Northtown Arcata. She didn’t charge for her work, Sand said, but only asked that the restaurant owners feed her whenever she’s in the area again.
Sand made the same agreement with Luzmila’s, asking only for food if she should ever come back in the future. Sand never charges for her murals, she said. Growing up the child of a single mother who operated a food cart in East L.A., Sand says it is important to her to help out small businesses, especially businesses owned by women or people of color.
“Murals are my community service to the streets,” Sand said, adding that she also chooses to paint in areas that look like they could use some beautification.
This is why she asked to paint Luzmila’s — because she felt like that area of Broadway looked “a little rough.” But Sand said she thought both Arcata and Eureka were beautiful towns and she loved supporting the small, local businesses.
“I’m so honored to be able to be in that area and bring a Sand doll to Eureka,” Sand One told the Outpost of her creation. “She represents the Latin culture there that works so hard. I hope it brings joy to the locals.”