Today’s guest is Preston Zeller, and I’m excited for you to meet him and hear his story.
I was immediately interested in learning more about his grief journey as a creative person. And what I found out about his story makes me think a higher power wanted us to meet. Our stories of loss and grief are very similar in that we’ve both suffered sibling loss, both wanting to do something meaningful with our grief by helping others.
Preston is an artist with accomplishments across multiple mediums, including film, photography, music, and fine art. Following the death of his brother in 2019, Preston set out to paint for a year straight to process his grief and share the experience along the way to stir conversation about how we deal with grief in society. The 365 paintings, which create a 10×20′ mosaic, are the subject of a feature-length documentary entitled, The Art of Grieving.
Preston now helps others through grief by creating commemorative paintings using the ashes of a loved one. His goal is to normalize grief conversations and proliferate healthy ways of dealing with grief.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the complete Episode:
Who is Preston Zeller
The start of the 365 project
The representation of how he moved through grief
Emotions during the process
The use of ashes in his final painting
The process of helping others
Benefits of a commemorative painting
The documentary shares his brother’s story
The underlying message
Normalizing conversations about grief
What’s next for Preston
What Preston is grateful for
16:25 – “Okay, you know, I want to, I want to do his eye, his eye is this common theme in a lot of art, artistic stuff I did. I mean, you know, especially like, someone who deals with addiction, like, you can look at their eyes and know right away, like, are you on anything? They’ll be like, No, and you look at their eyes. And you’re like, Yeah, you are, you know, the first thing you look at? Yeah, so that was like this constant, constant theme for me. And it just felt, I don’t know, appropriate to put ashes in how I remembered his eye. And it was a very apropos way to me to just cap off all those paintings.”
25:36 – “I didn’t want people to watch this and feel just as depressed as me. I wanted them to feel like they like sort of empowered and that they can do something about their grief. And the real overarching goal is to get people to talk about grief more to see this and go, Oh, this is this, I haven’t experienced this before. I haven’t seen someone do something creative out of grief, or, you know, that kind of thing. And then also proliferate, the use of, you know, solutions, like art therapy, or just even personal creative therapy, in their grief, that you’re not limited to necessarily talk therapy or, or something like that”.
31:14 – “But I realized that I’m like, I’m making this, you know, a documentary about my grief, talking about his story, but it’s talking about his grief as well, because you’re like, that’s a lot of the reason why people use it because they have grief about these things.”
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Thanks for listening,