Playing With Food: Illustrator Ana Zaja Petrak Talks Inspiration and Courage

Foodies, you're going to want to stock up on these charming prints.

Pomegranate, Ana Zaja Petrak
Pomegranate, Ana Zaja Petrak

Livingly's Inspiring Artist series asks talented women of all creative mediums to share their work and how they live life beautifully.

Inspiring Artist: Ana Zaja Petrak

When I first came across Ana Zaja Petrak's designs they immediately struck me as joyful and clever. She uses color fearlessly and approaches her subjects—food!—in a uniquely playful manner. It's no wonder the illustrator has drawn in clients like Ikea, Condé Nast and Papyrus. I had the pleasure of asking the artist a few questions about her artwork and her inspirations.

Limoncello, Ana Zaja Petrak
Limoncello, Ana Zaja Petrak

How would you describe your designs?

I tend to simplify things as much a possible, to show more with less, and to be honest with my work. My style is graphic, simple and colourful. I'm quite obsessed with colours, all of them. There is no existing colour that I don't like.

Do you have a favorite illustration? What makes it special to you?

Each work represents some moment in my life and therefore I love all my works. But if I need to choose one, that would probably be Limoncello. It says, "Summer without limoncello is not summer," in Italian. There is something sweet and naive about it. It became one of my most popular artworks and it was available in IKEA as a part of their poster collection 2 years ago.

Radicchio, Ana Zaja Petrak
Radicchio, Ana Zaja Petrak

What's the hardest part of being an artist?

Time managing and organization was and still is the biggest challenge. And focusing on one thing at a time. Communicating with customers and clients, wholesale inquiries, printing, packing. And above all, always trying to create something new, fresh. It feels overwhelming at times.

And the best?

Being an artist gives me the opportunity to look at the ordinary and make it extraordinary. I have a freedom to choose my working hours and I can do my work literally everywhere. I wouldn't change that freedom for anything.

Who or what inspires you?

I'm always amazed by life and all its wonders—by small, everyday things and situations. Food, in particular. People who are life enthusiasts inspire me a lot. I guess my passion for life is a thing that drives me to create.

Sometimes you just need to do it, to throw yourself off a cliff. You need to have courage to do what you love.

–Ana Zaja Petrak

What's the best advice you've ever received?

You’ll never be ready, if you keep waiting for the perfect time to come. Actually no one is ever ready to do anything. I'm not crazy about taking risks and I'm not super confident, but sometimes you just need to do it, to throw yourself off a cliff. You need to have courage to do what you love.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I love collecting beautiful, wise quotes and this is one of my favourites:

"Be the change you want to see in the world," by Mahatma Gandhi.

Kitchen Towels, Ana Zaja Petrak
Kitchen Towels, Ana Zaja Petrak

What does living beautifully mean to you?

Appreciating and enjoying every single moment and everything that life brings me, surrounded by my loved ones. Living a life filled with love, excitement, curiosity, passion and compassion for others, this is what a beautiful life is to me.

Shop Ana's designs here