There’s an undeniable softness to Mateja Kovač’s illustrations and paintings. Colored in light, pastel colors, her art tends to center around women, but there’s also an abundance of floral patterns – a feeling of springtime and romanticism and sense of ease that’s come to be characteristic of her work.
“I believe that the ambiance in my work is much more important than the content,” she remarked in an interview with Viva’s. “I could even say that my choice of motives and color is made considering the ambiance I’m trying to achieve in my illustration.”
Having graduated with a master’s degree from the School of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Kovač’s style has developed over time and with much trial and error. In 2014, she began collaborating with international clients, and over the years her projects have ranged from social media marketing campaigns to packaging and stationery.
“The projects I work on are varied and they all demand a different emotion,” she reflected. “You could say that I tend to surround myself with sources of inspiration that awakens a necessary emotion in me, depending on the project I’m working on.” She explains that while working on a fashion editorial, her inspiration might come from the old masters of fashion illustration; if she’s working on an illustration of a city, on the other hand, then she might turn to old photos or vintage postcards for inspiration.
When illustrating women, she finds that the challenge is greater. “On the internet, I often find very caricatured and grotesque illustrations of the female figure whose sexuality is shown in a very explicit way or just the opposite a very infantile way,” she says. “It is always a challenge to represent a woman’s sensuality without highlighting her sexual attributes. I’m not sure if I have succeeded in it but that was the main guidance thought.”