Z Animation Welcomes New Director, Dustin Grella Z Animation Welcomes New Director, Dustin Grella

Z Animation Welcomes New Director, Dustin Grella

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”-Edgar Degas

For the last seven years, Dustin Grella, has been developing and refining his style. His palette consists primarily of a slate chalkboard, soft pastels, and an HD camera.

Dustin’s animation career began shortly after he lost his younger brother, Devin, in the Iraq conflict.  He realized life was just too short to do anything other than what he really wanted to do, and that something he wanted to do was animation.  His widely celebrated film “Prayers for Peace” was an homage to the relationship he had with his brother.  “  wanted to honor my brother but I also wanted to process his identity as a man, and as a soldier: two facets of him I never knew or related to. It [the film] is really more my tribute to him and my growing to understand him than a statement on his death, or the war.” Prayers for Peace uses stark but lovingly realized imagery; rendered on a chalkboard, to record his brother’s last days, final communications, and impact on those he left behind.

This led to a creative exploration of animating personal, engaging and true stories. Some of these are hilarious, and they are all compelling for one reason or another.

Dustin created the Animation Hotline allowing people to call and leave messages on the answering machine. Dustin would select a message and animate it within 48 hours. So far there are 84 unique animations.

This led to a 16 spot package for a local homeless shelter.

Dustin’s style can be described as anti slick, believing that a viewer is engaged by a compelling story as much as beautiful animation. Dustin’s goal is to find the balance. Richard Gorey describes Dustin work as “personal, sophisticated in their visuals, and elegantly emotional.”

Peter Barg, executive producer and founder of Z Animation said he was thrilled with Dustin deciding to join the ZA roster.

“Our clients are always looking for unique ways to tell their client’s stories. Dustin’s work breaks the clutter with a distinctive and sensitive voice. I’m very excited about the possibilities.”

To view a selection of Dustin’s work please go to: