Anastassia Elias – a miniature story

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Mrs. Elias, I found your work on a website for children, while looking for a bit of inspiration for my handmade collection dedicated to the youngsters. I immediately became a fan of your work and I want to know everything about your rouleaux so I can share it with my readers. I am writing for our magazine a series of articles regarding paper art and your rouleaux are perfect for my theme.

The first time I saw your work, I received a fictional calling: take a peak ! It seems that the National Museum of Singapore was ahead of me with that idea. Maybe this should be an interesting collection title to awaken the curiosity of more children and parents.

Please tell us about yourself and how did you realize that you were born an artist? 

I am 38 years old (1976 year of birth). I made philology and journalism studies. I live in Paris, France. I am a full-time artist and illustrator. I illustrated children books published in France. Also I participate in the exhibitions of paintings and different art works.

I always loved to draw and create things using different techniques and my artistic activity looked like a hobby. In 2001 I decided to launch out into children’s illustration. I didn’t say myself « I am an artist », but « Paint, draw, in short, create is what I would like to do ». In 2006 this decision brought the first benefits: I illustrated my first book « Grand-mère arrose la lune » of Jean Elias, Editions Motus.

What kind of art do you do and which is your favorite?

I explore different techniques in my work : collage, painting, pencil and ink drawing. They are all my favorites. I practice them alternately. Sometimes I paint and at a given moment I dream to make collages. After a period of making collages, I look forward to go back to my brushes.

After all, I tried the most of experiences with paper : papercuting, 3D collages, torn paper collages. I have a few tens of kilograms of paper of all colors that I work with scissors, cutter or manually by tearing it. So I must have a slight preference for collages and paper cuttings.

What inspires you the most in the creative process?

I am inspired by people around me, the anonymous. You can find the human figure in most of my works. Finally, I am inspired by my surroundings, whether they are animate or inanimate. My sources of inspiration are very varied : cinema, photography, Fine Arts museums, websites of contemporary artists. As an illustrator I draw my inspiration from the text on which I work.

How did you start making the rouleaux?

I have fun to find what can I do with recuperated materials. And one day I looked at an empty toilet paper roll and wondered if I can do something with it.

Everyone is thinking about it, so here is the question: is it a real toilet paper roll you use for your creations?

Yes, it is a real toilet paper roll. This is just a cardboard roll, nothing else. Because it contains the word « toilet » in its name, it becomes impressive for some people. I just found that a cardboard tube was an interesting setting for a paper sculpture. And I didn’t need to make them myself, I found them ready to use.

But I enjoy and understand the surprise that people have to see artworks made using the trivial toilet paper rolls.

Tell us a little bit of the process of making a rouleau? What instruments do you use? How do you make the figurines?

I use manicure scissors and cutter to cut the small paper shapes. I select the paper of the same color as the roll. It gives the illusion that the paper figures are a part of the roll. I use tweezers to manipulate the paper shapes.

The elements of the scene are distributed so they do not encroach on each other and best capture the light. I discovered this play of light at night, after directing the very first roll to my desk lamp.

Do you also make custom creations for specific clients?

Diptych « Far North » was commissioned for a catalog of store « Nature et Découvertes » :

I have made some rolls on the theme of cinema for the exhibition in Portugal during the film festival Caminhos do Cinema Português.

Among therolls madeforthis exhibition : « The Birds » of Alfred Hitchcock


« Metropolis » of Fritz Lang


I saw the preparation for the Singapore exhibition and I found it genius. The way someone can admire your work integrated in a bigger design is truly wonderful. How did you got the idea for the exhibition?

I was invited by the National Museum of Singapore to show my rolls during Children’s season. The designers of this museum had imagined this stand. It was a great surprise for me to discover it at my arrival in Singapore. I was very pleased to see the characters I imagined small become bigger than me 🙂

index Singapour_4_stand Singapour_17_rouleaux

Dear Anastassia, you have fans in Romania already. We wish that we could see your artwork exhibited here some day. Thank you for letting us take a peak behind the scene of your beautiful world.

I want to end this interview in a grand style, showing everyone more of your work and exhibit scenes.

Thank you for your kind words, Rucsandra. I also hope to show my works in Romania one day.


If you want to find out more about my activity outside Revista Atelierul, check out my website here.