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Meet Miracle Mile Art Director and Photographer: Oscar Contreras

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oscar Contreras.

Oscar, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Berkeley CA, but my family relocated in Mexico City when I was very young.

Growing up in one of the most chaotic places in the world, Mexico City, made me a keen observer.

In a metropolis like this, many times you rely on your observation skills to find your way, otherwise  you get lost, in every sense of the word.

This type of observation has played a role in how I find the characters and places I like to shoot.

I love the feeling of capturing spontaneous moments in daily life, and especially in the street.

When I was 19, I took advantage of my USA citizenship, and I moved back to the USA. I attended art school in Detroit MI for a bit but it was too expensive so I ended up moving to Houston.

There I stayed with family friends who were kind enough to host me and I worked at a shoe store. I made some money but that was not for me.

So I went back to Mexico City for a year, trying to look for jobs or trying to find opportunities. It didn’t quite work out either, yet I had lots of fun skateboarding nearly daily.

I moved again this time to El Paso Texas, to attend UT. My friend told me it was cheaper than Austin, and I would get credits out of the way. I never made it to Austin, I ended up getting an internship at a big ad agency in Chicago, Leo Burnett- and I ended up getting hired as a jr art director in the creative department, where I started paying dues.

Today, in the ad world, I am known as a sr art director who has worked for advertising agencies in the USA, and in Bangkok, Thailand.

Some of the brands I have collaborated with are Unilever, Coca-Cola, Tecate Beer, Becks, Disney, Wrigley’s Gum, Chase Bank, and Allstate Insurance among others.

Some of my work has been recognized at Cannes Lions, FIAP, Spikes Asia Festival, Luerzer’s Archive Magazine, and Print Magazine, and National Geographic Website.

Yet those who know me well can tell you I am also a traveler, photographer, and skateboarder open to projects and collaborations with like-minded artists who share a passion for documentaries, street art, and social issues.

I currently reside in Los Angeles, California.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s never been a smooth road, moving to the US on my own was tough at the beginning, moving to Bangkok was tough at first, and moving to LA has also been challenging but it always ends up getting easier as time goes by.

When you look back, can you point to a period when you wanted to quit or a period that was really frustrating?
There have been times when you get frustrated with factors which affect your creative performance, but the only way to overcome them is to stand back, think clearly, assess the situation and be proactive to solve the situation- It sounds cliche, but the only way to overcome obstacles is to keep trying and trying different angles to solve a problem, and not getting discouraged. Perseverance is the key, not giving up.

Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
It’s a tough town, so meet as many people as you can, stay close to those that are a positive influence, and stay away from distractions and from people or situations which may keep you from achieving your goals. Easier said than done but I think that’s important. Don’t give up.

Is there something you are particularly excited about or working towards?
I’m excited to learn and experiment with video and tell stories,- and with new technology and social media, the platforms are endless.

Contact Info:

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