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Illustration

Elena Galofaro

Born and raised in Milan, from a Russian mother and Italian father, at 10 I bought myself a money-box onto which I glued a note, saying Money for Tokyo.

At 21, when I had the opportunity to visit Japan for the first time, I broke that money-box and spent everything in a few short hours. At 22, I graduated in 2D Animation from the National Film School (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia) in Italy and kept cultivating a deep interest in character design and animation. At 23, I decided  to give Japan a second shot and moved there for what felt like a few months but ended up being two years. Two years in which I had the opportunity not only to learn the language but also to experience the atmosphere of a traditional animation studio as an intern. At 25, I started an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art where I gave my characters a new full identity. 

By the age of 26 I’ve been listed for multiple awards, and have worked as a freelance animator and concept artist for Fenix and Enanimation Studios in Italy. I was lead animator and layout artist for the upcoming Bethe1to campaign by the American National Suicide Prevention and the Lifeline in New York and my work has been showcased in AWW Magazine and will be on Hightone publishing platform in Hong Kong.


From September 2017 to April 2019 I lived  in Japan. Having experienced firsthand the disadvantages of living in a country where speaking English is not enough for being understood, I started to cultivate an interest in the absurd. An absurdism which led my memories to travel between the real world and a fantasy, between being of a humans’ and not.

The incapacity of communicating with someone else represents not only a focus but also the contour of a conflict between the self and the other. A fight which I translate through dreamlike atmospheres where no one is ever fully human, and no one is ever fully understood. 

The philosopher Wittgenstein once said that if a lion could talk, we could not understand him, and that would happen because all its experience -Umwelt- is based on something we can not translate. To me, this concept is conveyed in the figure of the octopus (or in general, of marine creatures), which represents the other, and an element whose level of sensibility can not be translated by any language.

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Out of the Shell, an introductory video — feat A Shamisen Orchestra

Out of the Shell is an interactive website where people can experience the feeling of knowing someone new, as well as navigating through my personal experiences of encounters I had with women in Japan. 


Collaborators:

Website Developper - Nicolas Le Gall

Japanese Translation Check - Sara Riccardi, Riko Hoshino

The Moray Eels — from Out of the Shell
The Jellyfish — from Out of the Shell

Some of the illustrations I did for the interactive website Out of the Shell, inspired by real people.

Jellyfish in Hodogaya
Jellyfish in Hodogaya
Stingrays in Hodogaya
Stingrays in Hodogaya
Hodagaya Neighborhood — From my Japanese Diary, 2017.
Moray Eel in Hodogaya
Moray Eel in Hodogaya

A series of GIFs I've created to introduce the audience on Instagram, about the upcoming project Out of the Shell, as well as revealing my memories about the Hodogaya neighborhood, where I used to live.

Medium:

Animation on Paper, Digital Coloring