What do whales and smart toilets have in common? At first glance, nothing. But for Jolanda Bax - Witteveen, they are two subjects that she has been dealing with on a daily basis. The smart toilets for her work at imec, an international R&D organization in the field of digital and nanotechnology where she is seconded through ENTER. The whales for her most recent art project, where she can express her other talent and passion.
"Finally I dare to say I have a talent for painting"
Jolanda Bax - Witteveen
Jolanda has been with ENTER for more than five years now, and at her client imec she does all sorts of things as a biomedical engineer. Jolanda: "I often develop algorithms, but I'm also setting up a quality system to develop medical devices in a responsible way. I have also set up studies at Lowlands, including one with a smart toilet, to test whether you can measure vital functions when you go to the toilet. Because you're going to the toilet anyway. For many people who need to have regular measurements taken, it's really a great advantage if they don't have to have all kinds of equipment on their body to measure respiration and heart rate."
She talks about it with twinkling eyes and a lot of enthusiasm. "It was hard work, but we also had so much fun," she sighs. Working at Lowlands, it seems like an eternity ago after two years of living in a pandemic. But if anyone can say that she spent those two years well, it is Jolanda. At last she really got to work with her enormous talent for drawing and painting. And she didn't do that half-heartedly. She even made an entire calendar. And that's where the whales came in.
"I had made a whale once and I really liked it, so I thought I'd make a few more. There are so many different ones! I didn't know that either. But eventually I decided to choose twelve for a calendar. The idea to make a calendar came from a group of artists I joined. Simply because I wanted to do more with what I make. In that group we exchange ideas," says Jolanda.
She still sounds a bit modest when it comes to her art. "Yes, gosh... you know... I've always known I could draw, I've always painted a lot. It's wonderful to do, really an outlet. But the fact that I dare to say I have real talent is only recently. In the spring of last year I sold two paintings ... and then I was really dumbfounded. I really thought: you want to buy that??? I had never thought about that being an option."
"I want to start making postcards and art prints too"
Jolanda Bax - Witteveen
But a light in her head had switched on and Jolanda began to think about what she really wanted. "And how do I combine my work, my children and my art? That's why I joined the group and that's where I got the idea for the calendar. To actually publish it is really to try it out. I spent a lot of time on it and then I thought: maybe I should just have it printed. But if you only print a few, they are very expensive each. My husband then said, 'Just get 100 printed and then we'll see.' That's when the ball started rolling."
She laughs again. "I realized: if you're going to sell something, of course you need a logo and a website and an Instagram channel. I suddenly had to start doing marketing!" On her instagram channel, @studiovanjo, she also tells something about 'the whale of the month' every month this year. "A colleague who bought a calendar from me said, 'Nice, then I learn something about whales too' and that's how I got that idea. I learned a lot from it myself. Also what we do with our oceans... That's why I donate 10% of the proceeds to the World Wildlife Fund."
Of the 100 copies, Jolanda has now sold 30 calendars. Would you like to have one for yourself? Send her a message via Instagram or via email@example.com and for only 12.50 euros you will have an original Studiovanjo on your desk! And be sure to follow her on @studiovanjo, because she's still full of ideas. "I also want to start making cards and art prints. And no, not just of whales," she concludes with a laugh.