Staff Reporters
Dec 15, 2022

Creative Minds: How Aïcha Wijland and her mum got matching tattoos

Get to know the art director at The Monkeys who grew up drawing Harry Potter fanart and spends hundreds of hours building things on The Sims.

Aïcha Wijland
Aïcha Wijland
In Creative Minds, we ask APAC creatives a long list of questions, from serious to silly, and ask them to pick 11 to answer. (Why 11? Just because.) Want to be featured?

Name: Aïcha Wijland

Origin: Born in Amstelveen, The Netherlands. Raised in Dunedin, New Zealand

Places lived/worked: The Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia

Pronouns: She/her


  • Art director, The Monkeys, Sydney, 2021-present
  • Art director, CHE Proximity, Melbourne, 2018-2021
  • Freelance animator/artist, 2017-2018

1. How did you end up being a creative?

I was always drawing and painting growing up. I even had a blooming Tumblr career drawing Harry Potter fanart commissions from age 15. It was pretty much a given for me to go to art school, and then my obsession with music videos and 2D animation brought me to Melbourne. I was animating for barely a year before I was encouraged to do Award School, where I met the creative directors who would give me my first advertising job.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio? 

It’s a couple years old now but my favourite is still ‘Give A Flybuys’. It was an unreal creative opportunity to take a relatively stuffy but totally iconic brand and make it cool. So much fun, from the first script draft to the last social edit. 

3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else? 

I don’t really have a favourite but I love the packaging idea for I (eye) am MIKAN. I’m a sucker for anthropomorphised anything, but I love how simple it is, and how true the insight is as well—which is that you care more about things when you can see yourself in them.

4. What kind of student were you?

Diligent, but only for the things I cared about. I drew on all my exams.

5. What career did you think you'd have when you were a kid?

Before I really knew what comic books were, I said I’d be a writer who illustrates her own books. Then, briefly, a pilot.

6. How would your co-workers describe you?

Probably too blunt. But I’m just Dutch.

7. Tell us about an artist (any medium) that we've never probably heard of. 

I’m obsessed with Tyler Gunther (aka GreedyPeasant). He’s dedicated to 13th century camp peasantry and tassels. He’s created an entire world of medieval queerness. Character, costume design, illustration, storytelling, comedy. It’s art.

@greedypeasant Reposting this as we approach spooky season �� Hope it helps! ���� #medievaltiktok #cosplay #costume #spiderman @marvel ♬ original sound - Greedy Peasant

8. What's your guilty pleasure?

I’ve spent about 460 hours on The Sims 4. I love building houses and creating characters. The community is also super creative—the endless custom content that players create is insane. It’s so cool to see how it inspires young people (and a lot of young women) to learn 3D modelling and coding. This will probably be my only chance to rep my Sims skills so here’s some stuff I built.

9. Tell us about your tattoo(s).

When I got my first tattoos, my mum was a bit mortified and kept saying ‘That’s the last one though, right?’. Then one day she suggested we get a matching one. Not wanting to spoil the opportunity, I drew us a red bicycle with eyes inside it. We both wore red glasses growing up, which Dad called ‘rode paprika fiets’ (‘red bell pepper bike’ in Dutch). So that’s how my mum got her first tattoo at 57.

10. Cat person or dog person?

Dogs. I’m too emotionally sensitive for an animal to reject me.

11. Analogue or digital?

Both. There’s too many exciting things happening digitally to ignore, but analogue things will always scratch an itch.

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