Staff Reporters
Mar 16, 2023

‘Don’t believe the alcoholic, tortured artist hype,’ that’s a myth, says BMF creative

That, and other life lessons from the quirky creative behind Aldi's award-winning work. Plus, a plan to concoct an impossible advertising deal on TV... in her dreams.

‘Don’t believe the alcoholic, tortured artist hype,’ that’s a myth, says BMF creative
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: Kiah, Nicholas

Your place of origin: Sydney, Straya

Places where you've lived and/or worked: Wellington, New Zealand Newcastle, Sydney

Your preferred pronouns: She/her


  • Senior integrated creative, BMF, Sydney, 2019-present
  • Award School tutor, Sydney, 2022
  • Midweight copywriter, Clemenger BBDO, New Zealand, 2019-2017
  • Award School tutor, Sydney, 2017
  • Junior copywriter, Host, Sydney, 2017-2014
  • Top Ten Award School Student, Sydney, Australia, 2014
  • Senior graphic designer, Channel Zero, Sydney, 2014-2011

1. How did you end up being a creative?

It’s garishly uncool to admit, but I didn’t just “stumble across” or “fall into” being a creative. I wanted to it from the moment I discovered it existed, about half-way through my Bachelor in Visual Communication Design degree. Otherwise known as, “the financially sensible choice for creative millennials, who grew up watching their parents struggle financially; ergo, silently vowed never to do that.” I loved graphic design. Still do. But when I took ‘Advertising 101’ as an elective, I was hooked.

I loved the power of ideas: to positively change the mindsets and behaviour of the masses. To make people laugh, empathise, think twice about drunk driving or be mobilised to donate blood. In the beginning, I had ideas. And they were bad. But I had a good attitude and a growth mindset. I put in the work, devoured the books, studied the annuals, and brainstormed on weekends. I got into Award School, busted my ass, did well, and left my cushy design job to go intern for free at an ad agency, where I busted my ass some more – driven to create great work that makes a difference. It was probably just youthful naivety and an addiction to Eureka-induced dopamine, but it gave me the persistence and resilience I needed to get into creative – and stay in it for the last decade.

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

They’re all special in their own way, but our latest campaign for Aldi Special Buys is ‘special you can buy’.

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

‘Call a Swede’ or ‘Nazis against Nazis’ by Grabarz & Partners and GGH MullenLowe. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Stupid-smart, cheeky, challenger-esque and non-traditional. Proof that ‘fun’ can be the answer to even the most serious briefs.

4. What or who are your key creative influences?

My influences include the usual culprits: stand-up gigs, people-watching, nature, meditation, literature, films, music, gigs, shows, podcasts, science & tech blogs, talks, taking short courses and workshops. So far I’ve done classes in: brush lettering, papercraft, weaving, clay making, improvisation, singing, acrobatics, dance, roller skating, weightlifting, self-defence and survivalist training. Last year, my boss gave me a unicycle. It’s on the to-learn list. Thanks, Derwin!

5. What kind of student were you?

This kind:

6. Who is the most important person in your life?

My one-true-creative partner and best friend, Emily Field. Otherwise known as ‘the most talented, supportive, kind, intelligent, quirky, gangly, over-thinking, bath-loving, running, lawn-bowling, 5 am waking, farm girl, I’ve ever meet’. With Em, I don’t just love the Eureka highs, I love the entire ideation process. We have this “how can we make this fun” approach to everything. We look up to each other and make each other better. And, while we work hard, we support and lookout for each other – ensure we’re taking breaks, working sustainably, and fitting in exercise.

7. What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?

Don’t believe the alcoholic, tortured artist hype, that's a myth. And don’t overwork. Nothing kills creativity quicker than stress and burnout. Especially in the long run. You’ll be more creative if you work sustainably, eat healthy, take breaks, meditate, exercise, and get good sleep. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Have interests outside of work. Oh, and don’t fall into the trap of identifying as a creative – you are so much more than your work.

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

Lately, I’ve been into 8D and bilateral stimulation music. Best listened to through headphones or by turning your phone 90° and placing it behind your neck.

It’s used in EDMR to treat stress, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, stroke damage, and insomnia. It can also be used for sleep-aid, relaxation, meditation, studying etc.

9. Do you have any recurring dreams?

I have this dream that I’m Nathan Fielder in ‘Nathan for You’ season 3, episode 1 - Electronics Store. The one where Nathan tries to leverage Best Buy's price-matching policy by advertising a TV for $0.1. But all these people keep coming to buy the TV, so I have to keep creating new ways to prevent them from buying it. And then I climb through a tiny door and wrestle an alligator.

10. Do you have any secret or odd talents?

Apart from hosting BMF Cribs Lock-down Edition?

It’s no secret, I started learning hip hop dance on Zoom, during lockdown in 2020. I was so bad. It was ‘cringe’ to say the least. But I loved it. So I “embraced the suck”, and have been dancing ever since. It’s been about 900 days and, while I’m still not great, I've come a long way. Feel free to stalk my journey at the account below. 

11. Who is your 'hall pass' celebrity?

Single people don’t need a ‘hall pass.’ Come at me celebs. 

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