Galia Pike has what you might describe as a portfolio career. She is one half of the ‘toytronica’ duo Psapp, who write music for TV shows and commercials and have released critically acclaimed albums. The “parallel Psapp universe” that Galia created, “filled with monochromatic cats, imaginary keyboards and friendly monsters” appeared on merchandise and in the band’s animated videos before spinning off into all sorts of commissions. Postcards, album covers, posters, flyers, tattoos, comic strips, prints and even a range of condom packaging followed, as did murals, art installations and exhibitions in London and Paris.
She has also created a range of jewellery and homewares and has been illustrating lesson plans and collaborating on songs for The Big Think who are doing great things to promote wellbeing, social responsibility and empowerment in primary schools. And she writes the hugely popular ‘Dogs of Lewes’ column and draws the ‘Craig’ cartoon for our sister magazine Viva Lewes.
Galia’s portfolio, it occurs to me, is more varied and expansive than most. “I just really like making stuff,” she says “and it’s not always important to me what it is...”
She and her husband Adrian (who also worked in the music business) have recently turned their creative talents to winemaking, taking over the running of the Westwell Wines Estate in Kent in 2017. Adrian is in charge of the winemaking while Galia takes care of the branding and marketing.
“I didn’t know much about it,” she tells me, “so I started a blog called Sussex Uncorked and went around all the local vineyards interviewing people about winemaking. It’s been great – if you want to know something about something, start a blog.”
The couple have doubled the size of the vineyard and are experimenting with different grape varieties and fermentation methods, gathering a growing reputation for creating interesting and unusual single-estate wines as they go. They recently married grape and grain in a collaboration with master artisanal brewers Burning Sky, whose ‘This Land’ saison was aged with Pinot Noir and Ortega grape skins from Westwell. By all accounts it was delicious (it all but sold out as soon as it was announced) and another brew is in the pipeline.
Galia has been busy designing a new label for Westwell's sparkling wines. So far, their labels have sported her intricate line drawings of the soil structure, macerating grape skins and a microscopic cross section of a vine, “acknowledging the beauty of the vineyard and referencing back every part.” They are meticulously detailed and refined – quite a departure from her space-cat Psapp aesthetic. I wonder what she has planned for our October 'grape & grain' cover?
“Sometimes I’m very intricate and other times I’m quite cartoony” she explains. “I’m often really torn about what will work, but there’s an immediacy about a cartoon and I do love anthropomorphising things, so I’ll probably do something with that…” she muses. “There are lots of different elements to what I do.”
From where I’m sitting, that’s quite the understatement. See for yourself at monstrouspencil.co.uk; sussexuncorked.wordpress.com; psapp.net; westwellwines.com and the-big-think.org.