Dustin Grella

Artist Statement

Being obsessive and compulsive in our society often time carries negative connotations, however in my work I prefer to celebrate these traits and often times refer to it as OCC, Obsessive Compulsive Culture. I approach my work as if it were a puzzle, taking an action or an idea and aggressively repeating it, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, until a resolution is found. Often times the journey is more interesting than the destination, and although a singular action is desired and chosen, influences outside of the realm of control help guide the work into new arenas.

One of my major projects is the Notes to Self project, in which I've written and then mailed, myself a letter every day for almost eight years has generated 4250 letters (and counting), which remain meticulously ordered and still sealed to this day. The slight variations in the project, a change of font, the physical location of the cancellation stamp, and of course what is written inside, are nuances that help decipher time's complexities.

Animation is also a natural meditation for me. I set up a camera on a one-minute timer that records the image, and then I allow myself to draw and explore the direction of the next frame, sometimes a narrative emerges and sometimes the path is abstract. The importance is often times not placed on the product, but on the act of creation.


Dustin Grella is an animator and documentary filmmaker whose work attempts to glean glimpses of colorful insight into the seemingly mundane. His work has screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and won the Walt Disney Award at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. His film "Prayers for Peace" screened at almost two hundred festivals worldwide and won over forty awards. He has written and mailed himself a letter every day for the past eleven years and has over 4250 sealed letters neatly filed and categorized. He is currently in production of the Animation Hotline, a series of micro-animations where he uses crowd-sourced voicemail messages for content.

Grella was raised in the rural community of Medina, Ohio, and now resides in New York City. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, being honored with the Paula H. Rhodes Award for Excellence in Computer Art. His animations' accolades include winning the Walt Disney Award at the prestigious Ottawa International Animation Festival. In early 2010 the Akron Art Museum featured his short film Prayers for Peace in a four-month installation.




New York, NY

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