(1952 - Present)
Born in Mexico City, Mexico, to a mother who was a portrait painter and a father who was a jeweler, Susan Contreras moved to Santa Barbara, California, when she was a child. The family traveled frequently to Mexico, where Susan became fascinated by the many ceremonies such as the Day of the Dead ceremonies. The combination of drama and intense color forms the foundation of Contreras' paintings to this day.
In 1968, Contreras moved with her family to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she shifted her interest from photography to painting. She studied figure painting at the Skowhegan School in Maine, after which she returned to Santa Fe where she married painter Elias Rivera.