Croatian illustrator Ana Petrak’s food and drink designs

Ana Petrak is a Croatian graphic designer and illustrator. Her colourful culinary prints celebrate food and drink and make a great addition to any kitchen or dining room. We catch up with Ana to discuss her inspiration and share her experience of life as an artist.

Q: Where did you grow up and has this influenced your work?

A: I grew up in Zagreb, Croatia in an artistic family and was a very curious child. My mother is a writer and my stepfather a film director, as is my brother.

My parents socialised with all kinds of creative people, so our house was always full of filmmakers, writers, poets and painters from an early age. That environment definitely had a big impact on my life’s direction and my work.

Croatian graphic designer and illustrator Ana Petrak

Q: Did you do any other jobs before you became a full-time artist?

A: After completing a degree in Graphic Design at the Faculty of Architecture / School of Design, I worked for many years in the graphic design industry. Coming from a design background really defines the way I create now.

Q: Did you ever have a different career route in mind?

A: If I wasn’t an artist, I’d probably be a psychologist, a cook or a perfumer.

Q: Where do you work? 

A: Home is for digital work, and my studio is a technology-free oasis - lots of pens, papers and brushes. The studio space is full of natural light and it has a lovely view of a wooden house, which reminds me of the house from the animated movie ‘Up’!

Ana Petrak’s view from her studio

Q: Do you have music in your studio whilst you work?

A: Music plays an important role in my creating process, all of my works have certain soundtracks that go along with them.

Songs very often define the mood and the colours of my work. I love various kinds of music like jazz, soul, R&B, world music and gospel.

Ana Petrak’s studio and her and her Chihuahua Vicky

Q: What materials and techniques do you use?

A: I always start with a pen and paper and head to the computer afterwards. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different techniques outside the digital medium, such as collage, acrylic and screen printing.

Analogue techniques contain a certain dose of imperfection, spontaneity and authenticity which I adore. I would say that the only constant in my work is simplicity and my obsession with bold colours.

‘Henri Matisse said long ago something very true: ‘Creativity takes courage.’’

Ana petrak

Designs in Ana Petrak’s studio

Q: What other artists inspire you? Who are your art heroes?

A: There are so many of them, but these are the first that come to mind: Saul Bass, Alan Fletcher, Sister Korita Kent, Matisse, Picasso.

Q: What art do you hang on your walls at home?

A: My walls are mostly covered with vintage movie and advertising posters.

Q: Any key ambitions/goals you still have on your to do list?

A: I’d love to create a line of textile designs and products, work with ceramics, write and illustrate my own book…we’ll see what the future holds!

Q: How would you describe the life of an artist in less than 5 words?

A: Freedom, challenge, play, struggle, curiosity

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A: You’ll never be ready if you keep waiting for the perfect moment to arrive. I’m not crazy about taking risks and I’m not super confident but, sometimes, you just need to do it, despite the fear. Henri Matisse said long ago something very true: ‘Creativity takes courage.’

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