The first couple of stops I’ll make after magic carpets are invented are to my far away friends on Instagram. When I see Simone Wittgen’s whimsical artsy food & plant-life inspired photos pop up in my feed I instantly feel this way and want to fly over to the Netherlands to have coffee at her dinner table (see that Simone, I’ve already invited myself over). I want to talk about food, how my daughter loves her artwork, how I stop for a few moments to think about her deeply meaningful, yet lighthearted quotes…
I didn’t know much about Simone before interviewing her for Garden Eats aside from her feed. What I saw then and what I know now after talking with her is that she’s an intuitive artist whose work is inspired by the natural elements around her, a healthy food lover, no doubt a sweet mother and wife and clearly a creator of good vibes!
We invite the people we’re naturally drawn to here at Garden Eats- Simone was instantly one of those people and we’re especially happy to introduce her and her art to you during the holiday season. Her profound messages leave you with a renewed, happy sense and I know everyone has someone on their holiday shopping list who would love to receive a set of her prints :). Grab a cup of tea and read on til the end so you can join Simone’s super sweet giveaway especially for Garden Eats!
Please welcome Ms. Simone Wittgen
Garden Eats: What inspired you to start this project?
Simone: One day, in January of this year, I was just playing with candy hearts, drew a doodle with them and made a picture of it. Just for fun and not inspired by a particular thing. I posted it on Facebook and got a lot of enthusiastic comments of my FB-friends. That’s when I decided to create more of it, but with healthy food (veggies and fruit) instead, in combination with a quote and another doodle. The first doodle was kind of weird…you couldn/t tell if it was a girl or a grandpa ;0). Without realizing it in the beginning I drew my alter ego: we share the same curly long hair, posture and big smile. Philosophietje® however is much much sweeter, prettier, wiser, funnier… :0) The choice for healthy food was simple: I love veggies and fruit and like to take care of my body and spirit. My goal wasn’t particularly to promote healthy food, but once ‘on that road’ it felt very good to support the use of veggies and fruit. Besides posting on Facebook I started to use Instagram actively.
GE: Are whole foods an important part of your family’s wellness?
Simone: Although I’m not a health freak my family’s wellness is very important to me. We all do sports, jump on our bikes instead of getting in the car as much as possible and I cook by the principles of the author of the book ‘Oersterk’/ family doctor in the Netherlands, Richard van Leth. He states that we should eat pure paleo food and no sugar and grains. And I tend to buy biological whole foods. These are tastier and have no additions like sugar and E-numbers (European designation for food additives). I also like to experiment with ‘forgotten’ veggies and fruits. The funny thing is that my kids and husband usually make the yuck-face when I serve dinner but after eating it most of the time they are very enthusiastic. My husband lost some weight with it too.
GE: Do you enjoy cooking and preparing food? What’s your fave dish?
Simone: I more and more like to cook. To be honest: I’m not a Christmas dinner cook who likes to make like 6 courses or so with all kind of techniques and for 20 guests. I’m giving my husband the honor and showtime to do that ;0) But I’m more like the daily family cook who uses quality products, is well organized while cooking and cooks fast. I graduated in Hospitality and cooking class was one of the courses I took (I also did my internship at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI). So I can follow a recipe and I even have the diplomas to start my own restaurant if I would like too. My favorite dish at this moment is a fish package (white fish with coriander) with sweet mashed potatoes and spicy curry cauliflower: tasty, healthy, easy and payable.
GE: What message do you hope to send with your art?
Simone: Letting people smile, feel or think is the most important thing I hope to elicit with my PhiloSophietjes.
GE: What’s ahead?
Simone: I just started a project with a friend (Lisette Knippenberg: she has her own cooking studio and is a television cook in the Netherlands) to make our own cooking book for which I deliver the PhiloSophietjes and she uses the displayed veggie or fruit in the recipe. This to make cooking and eating more fun (for kids for example) and healthy.
GE: Ohh, yes, we love that, something to be excited for! Thank you for stopping by Simone!
PhiloSophietje® is just a cute little doodle girl who loves to play with fruit and vegetables in combination with a fun or wise quote. Letting you smile from ear to ear, touch your heart or think is the only humble thing she longs for in life. PhiloSophietje® was born on Instagram (@simone_wit) and is now available on cards (12 cards of 10 x 10 cm in quality print per package) so you can spread a sparkle of fun or wisdom to other people or enjoy PhiloSophietje® creations at your home.
About the ‘artist’:
Simone, 44 years old, lives in a village in the south of the Netherlands with her husband and two sons, 9 and 7 years old where she works as an independent communication consultant. Her passion is photography. Through her illustrative work she can freely express her creativity with her photos. She started to draw a doodle of a girl together with healthy food just for fun without any aspirations and posted these doodles on Instagram. After a while her followers started to ask if she was selling cards/ prints. That’s when she decided to set up an Etsy shop!
About the name ‘PhiloSophietje’:
‘Philo’ for philosophy refers to the quotes. ‘Sophie’ is of course a girl’s name.‘Tje’ is a diminutive in Dutch.
Please visit Simone! She would love to hear about how her prints have touched your home.
E T S Y shop
Special giveaway for Garden Eats readers : one of you will receive a PhiloSophietje® package (Fun, Wisdom or Friendship & Love: 12 cards) of her/ is choice when you start following me on Instagram and/or Facebook and write a comment below one of the PhiloSophietjes with the tag #philosophietje_gardeneats. At the end of December I will announce the winners.