Contreras began his artistic career steeped in the Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism of the 1960s and 70s. He traveled Europe, finding success in places like Sweden. By 1972 he had stopped painting and returned to the United States where he worked in the Los Angeles County Sanitation Department for twenty-five years. Shortly after retiring, he again took up painting becoming very prolific and recognized, creating more than 2,000 works and placing his artwork in exhibits and collections around the globe. He likens creating the thickly painted surfaces to other physical experiences in his life, raking the streets, frosting a cake, or applying hair gel. The application and the surface quality of his work is seductive, its material in full display. This glossy materiality is indulgent, juicy, kinky, activating our senses, a delight that shares with us his pleasure of painting them.