Portrait by Domenique Serfontein

Melissa Culhane is an artist and animator. She is well known for illustrating the number one bestselling Irish wildlife book, Naturama, and My Naturama Nature Journal, published by Gill Books. She recently retrained as an animator.  Her graduate film, A Quack Too Far, premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh and has been accepted into numerous films festivals worldwide. She was awarded an artist bursary from Westmeath County Council in 2020 to support the development of her new short animation, Keep Going, Little Snail.

Artist Statement:

My background is in architecture and digital design, and my main theme of work is based around nature. I love storytelling and I work with a combination of hand drawing and digital design. I always want to incorporate a hand made feel to my work as a way of connecting with the viewer and also to tell the story of the how the work is made.  For me, everything starts with drawing and I work through drawings to figure things out.

Watch me on TV talking about Naturama (2016) and how I draw.


B.A. (Hons) Animation (2.1) Coláiste Dhúlaigh College of Further Education/ University of Wolverhampton, 2019
Cert. Animation (2.1) Pulse College/ Griffith College, 2018
Cert. Entrepreneurship (1.1) National College of Ireland, 2011
M.A. Digital Media Technology (2.1) Dublin Institute of Technology, 2010
B.Sc. Architecture, University College Dublin, 2006

Selected Exhibitions/Screenings

Animated Short Film – A Quack Too Far

  • Irish Film From Home, London Film Festival, UK, Summer 2020 – watch A Quack Too Far here in its entirety for a limited time
  • Athens Animfest, Greece, 2020, dates tbc
  • Amsterdam Independent Film Festival, the Netherlands, Oct 13-17, 2020
  • Semi-finalist for New York Animation Awards, USA, 2020
  • We Like ‘Em Short Film Festival, USA, August 6-9, 2020
  • Cambodia International Film Festival, March 14-22, 2020
  • Moscow Irish Film Festival, Russia, March 11-22, 2020
  • Chicago Irish Film Festival, USA, Feb 27 – March 1, 2020
  • The 21st Bucheon International Animation Film Festival (Oscar Qualifying), South Korea, October 18-22, 2019 (plus Q and A) 
  • Anim!Arte – International Student Animation Festival of Brazil, October 3-12, 2019 
  • Culture Night at The Dock, Ireland, September 20, 2019 (plus a “Making of” presentation). 
  • BRUKIVKA International Film Festival, Ukraine, September 11-15, 2019  
  • Semana Por La Soberania Audiovisual, Argentina, September 8, 2019  
  • 31st Galway Film Fleadh, (Oscar Qualifying), Ireland, July 14, 2019

Illustration – Solo

Íontas Arts Centre, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, Naturama solo exhibition (2017)
Bí Urban, Stoneybatter, Co Dublin, Naturama solo exhibition (2017)

Illustration – Group

NoFixedAbode, group exhibition, Copper House Gallery, Dublin (2017)
Print, Fumbally Exchange, group exhibition, Dublin (2017)
Transformation, group exhibition, #100daysofbicycles, Fumbally Exchange, Dublin (2015)
Elementals, group exhibition, Fumbally Exchange, Dublin (2015)
Xmas Exhibition, group exhibition, Bernard Shaw, Dublin (2014)
Blot, Children’s Book Exhibition, group exhibition, Little Green Street Gallery, Dublin (2012)

Video Art installation – Dream in a Landscape, and others

Bring your own Beamer, video art festival, with Woven Skull, IMOCA studios, Dublin (2011)
Contemporary Art and the Moving Image, Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast (2011)
Galway Art’s Festival, group screening, Galway (2011)
Sanctioned Array, group screening, White Box, New York City (2010)
Everyone Has A Different View, Playhouse, Nottingham (2010)
Expanded Architecture at the Festival of Architecture, Sydney (2010)
International Digital Art Festival, National Academy of Arts, Sofia (2010)
Videogram, Limerick (2010)
Darklight X, Dublin (2009)

Documentary short film – Bike Love – Directed and Edited

Cork Bicycle Festival (2009)
Kerry Bicycle Festival (2009)

Photos by Maiden Moose/Domenique Serfontein