Local artist speaks to City College students

David Contreras opens the spring season of the World Cultures program


Local artist David Contreras speaks to City College students via Zoom in the event “Look This Way! Craftsmanship and Seduction.” Zoom screenshot

Victor Ortiz, Jr., Multimedia Journalist

The early art of David Contreras reflects a European style learned from his academic studies.

He later discovered that he did not identify or connect with it because of his background. 

“I’m a Chicano from south Texas,” Contreras said. “I am not a European. I needed to find a process that felt like me, but still taking all of those academic training lessons and bringing it into my own style and that just took time.”

Contreras shared the evolutionary path his art style took in a Zoom presentation entitled “Look This Way! Craftsmanship and Seduction with David Contreras.”


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A post shared by David Contreras (@mrdavidcontreras)

In collaboration with the World Cultures Program, the fine art department of San Diego City College invited a local artist to speak with students about art.

The style and method Contreras uses in his work took time to develop, he said in the Feb. 8 webinar.

Contreras eventually found his artist identity and style through exploring and incorporating images from his family’s ranch in Texas and by including elements from his interests in film narrative and drama. 

In graduate school, he learned digital fabrication — a form of 3D art — which helped him to place patterns uniquely into his art. 

Contreras draws inspiration from artists like Phillip Guston and Hans Hoffman, and highly recommended students draw daily.

“Just sketching something is a really useful and healthy process as a young artist,” he said. “You should be doing it to get your ideas down.” 

He stressed to students the importance of continued learning and development as an artist in order to hone their skills. 

“I am constantly pushing myself to evolve as an artist, to try new techniques and to try new ways to keep the craft interesting to me,” Contreras said. 

The City College community is encouraged to review the World Cultures Program page online for more information regarding future events.