My name is Elena Ciolacu, I was born in 1989 in Romania and I am an award winning illustrator, graphic novel creator, animator and self-taught fine artist. I enjoy tapping into different kinds of mediums and telling compelling and emotional stories, which I either invent myself or hear from others. I like to describe my work as visual storytelling.
After graduating from high-school, I studied Graphic Design at West University of Timisoara in Romania, in 2013 I graduated from Coventry University in the UK with a first class BA degree in Illustration and Animation and in 2018 I earned my MA degree in Animation at the National University of Theatre and Film “I.L. Caragiale” in Bucharest, Romania.
I made my directorial debut in animation with my first student film, “Remember Me” (2013), a short 2D animation drama about the Romanian army’s fights on the Eastern Front of WWII.
“The Little Hero” (2018), my second student film, came as a tribute to the director that fuelled my love for animation, Hayao Miyazaki, and as an intense labour of mastering all aspects of this craft. “The Little Hero” won many national and international awards, also being nominated for the Gopo Awards and the Romanian Filmmakers Union Awards.
"A True Story about Vlad Dracula" (2020) is a commissioned film, which I directed and animated, and represents an experience that has taught me and pushed me even more in developing my craft.
Apart from animation, I am also passionate about illustration, oil painting and creating graphic novels, which I write and illustrate. My first graphic novel – “A Story of Hope for the Bullied” - deals with the theme of the trauma caused by bullying and it was awarded two international prizes in London. My second graphic novel – “Disposable People” – imagines the Alzheimer’s disease from the perspective of the sufferer, aiming to bring awareness on this subject. It has been published in Romania in both Romanian and English and it is available for purchase.
My inspiration comes from daily life, my personal experiences, biographies and autobiographies, Christian Orthodox spirituality, my passion for my roots and my identity, but also photography, nature, literature, music, cinematography and the work of the Old Masters.