Being obsessive and compulsive in our society often carries negative connotations. In Dustin Grella‘s work, the artist and filmmaker prefers to celebrate these traits, referring to it as OCC, Obsessive Compulsive Culture. Grella approaches his 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.
Grella’s 2010 Prayer for Peace, an animated short dedicated to the memory of Grella’s brother, who was killed in the current military conflict in Iraq, received the 2010 Walt Disney Animation Studios grand prize for Best Student Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.
In his Notes to Self project, Grella has written and then mailed himself a letter every day for over ten years. The exercise has generated 3,650 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.