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Personal happenings, status updates and announcements. Thoughts I’d like to share. That sort of thing.


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[ 2020.10.25 ] Status Update

New Job

Last month, I accepted a role as Creative Director at DataStax, after contracting remotely for the company since the outset of the pandemic.

They’ve been a great company to work with, and as luck would have it, I found myself teaming up with all sorts of people I had previously worked with during my time at other tech companies — namely, Apigee, Google and Gradle — that had been drawn into DataStax's orbit. So by the time I was asked to come aboard full-time, it was a pretty easy decision to make. It's an exciting time to be joining the company, and there's a ton of potential in the design team we’ve started putting together.

I gotta say, I feel extremely lucky to be in the position I'm in and to have this bit of personal good news, at a time when almost all news is bad or worse.


Studio

While I had hoped to be back in the studio working and writing again after the shutdown ended, that just didn’t pan out. I wound up getting sick (again) with COVID-like symptoms, and quarantining at home until I had test results (negative, thankfully). And then got so busy with client work, that I didn’t have the time or energy to devote to side projects. It was tough to turn any work down, given the economic conditions of this pandemic. For all I knew, the projects wouldn’t be there tomorrow.

In the meantime, everyone that shares the studio decided it was probably safest and smartest to just move our workspaces back home for good. The pandemic isn’t ending anytime soon, and there’s no safe way for any of us to be in the room at the same time without the risk of infecting one another. My only problem is, I don’t have space at home to move everything back to. So now I’m looking for a house.

On the upside, the prospect of living somewhere that isn’t a loft or apartment has a lot of appeal at this point. In addition to getting all my books and things in one place, my dog will definitely benefit from having a yard. And I won’t have to navigate so many shared spaces that seem to inevitably involve close encounters with people who can’t be bothered to wear a damn mask. I just have to not think about how much it is going to suck to move all the stuff that I've accumulated in the studio.


Speculative Identities

My favorite side project is still dormant. Rich and I had a lot of plans for updating the Speculative Identities website, and I have no shortage of requests and material to investigate, but work’s shifting sands and the pandemic life have so far thwarted those efforts. I’m doubtful I’ll get the gears back in motion until after I find that house and have access to the studio at home. I feel bad because it seemed to have a lot of fans. And I really enjoy the work that goes into it.


What Else?

Maybe, if anything, I can get back to writing and posting here? Steps in this direction would probably make it easier to get back into the groove of posting for Speculative Identities. We’ll see what I can muster.


[ 2020.08.31 ] Recently Acquired

[ Note on Subject ]

West-Berlin Grafik-Design by Jens Müller. Published 2019 by Optik Books.

[ Note on Subject ]

"Your Fate Is Sealed" Sticker Pack by Sophy Hollington, from Rough Trade Editions x Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

[ Note on Subject ]

Black Spot and Griz Grobus sci-fi comics by Simon Roy.

[ Note on Subject ]

The Making of Aliens by JW Rinzler. Published August 2020 by Titan Books.


[ 2020.08.24 ] Recently Acquired

[ Note on Subject ]

Shape Grammars by Jannis Maroscheck. Published July 2020.

[ Note on Subject ]

The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols by Udo Becker. Published 1994.


[ 2020.08.08 ] Recently Acquired

In today's mail, I was happy to find the two sci-fi themed prints that I ordered a while back from Gallery 1988.

One of them was the limited edition “Internal mHALfunction” by Anthony Petrie. Inspired by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is a 36"×24" two-color screen print on red foil. You can get a closer look at it on his website. This thing is impressive, and my two images here don't do it justice.

The other was “Tyrell Corp” by James Gilleard. I love Gilleard's illustration style and I'm a big fan of Blade Runner, which inspired the piece, so it seemed like an opportune time to grab one of these while I was ordering Petrie's print. You can get a closer look at the art by visiting his blog and expanding the image found here. The details are fantastic.


[ 2020.08.08 ] Currently Reading

The Disaster Area by JG Ballard. A 1985 UK edition, with cover illustration by James Marsh.


[ 2020.08.06 ] Recently Acquired

[ Note on Subject ]

Mondo X-Men logo enamel pin featuring Tom Muller's logo design for the HOX/POX comics.

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Five 32mm pin science badges, based on Tom Gauld's cartoons from Department of Mind-Blowing Theories.

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Velcro-backed Civil Defense patch from CountyComm.


[ 2020.08.06 ] Current Listening

Sonic Desert EP by Gesceap / Released July 30, 2020

Listen on Bandcamp | Sonic Desert Website


[ 2020.06.20 ] Current Listening

HEL030 by UTA Trax & Mooninite / Released June 18, 2020

Listen


[ 2020.06.07 ] Recently Acquired

[ Note on Subject ]

Series 2 "Mummyfig" by Invisible Creature

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Glow-in-the-dark "Snatcher" pin from The Yetee

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Trash: The Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters by Jacques Boyreau

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Film Posters of the 1970s and 1980s books, from the Reel Poster Gallery Collection

Sources: Mummyfig, Snatcher Pin, Trash, Film Posters of the 1970s and 1980s


[ 2020.06.06 ] Current Listening

DECADE by AlexWiklund / Released May 30, 2020

All tracks recorded on a Gambeboy DMG-01 running LSDJ 6.3.9

Listen


[ 2020.06.05 ] Current Listening

HEY MISTER by GHOST COP / Released June 5, 2020

Listen


[ 2020.05.25 ] Recently Acquired

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Archigram: The Book

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The Mind's Eye: The Art of OMNI, Edited by Jeremy Frommer and Rick Schwartz, Introduction by Ben Bova

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Paperbacks From Hell, by Grady Hendrix

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"Xenomorph Queen" Aliens MegaBox (MB-10) by 52Toys


[ 2020.05.17 ] Recently Acquired

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The Art of Graphic Design by Bradbury Thompson

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World Geo-Graphical Atlas: A Composite of Man’s Environment, Published by Container Corporation of America (CCA), Designed by Herbert Bayer


[ 2020.05.07 ] Current Listening

COURSE OF EMPIRE by Course Of Empire / Released April 3, 2020

Listen


[ 2020.05.05 ] Recently Acquired

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Ghost Hardware: Three Infinite Detail Stories (Kindle Edition) by Tim Maughan

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LogoArchive Issue 6

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Modern Heraldry: Volume 1, Published by Counter-Print

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Modern Heraldry: Volume 2, Published by Counter-Print


[ 2020.05.05 ] Current Listening

OUTLAND by Ital Tek / Released May 1, 2020

Listen


[ 2020.04.25 ] Recently Acquired

[ Note on Subject ]

RoboCop: The Definitive History, published by Titan Books, 2014.

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The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, published by Harmony Books, 1977.

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The Quatermass Experiment, published by Penguin Books, 1959.

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Project Survival, published by Playboy Press, 1971.


[ 2020.04.18 ] Recently Acquired


[ 2020.04.17 ] Current Listening

ROY by Makeup and Vanity Set / Released April 17, 2020

The fourth and final EP in a series focused on the concept of the fugitive replicants from Blade Runner.

Listen


[ 2020.04.03 ] Recently Acquired


[ 2020.03.07 ] Recently Acquired


[ 2020.03.04 ] Chance Encounter with a Robot

Stopped at CSB for a beer on the way home from the office last night, and had an unexpected run in with a Boston Dynamics "Spot" robot dog that some university students were demonstrating. First time getting up close to one of these things. I survived the encounter.

I really wish I'd had my dog Ripley with me. She would have flipped out.


[ 2020.02.27 ] Recently Acquired


[ 2020.02.25 ] Current Listening

HIDEO by Alberto / Released November 7, 2019

An homage to the 1998 Playstation game Metal Gear Solid (directed by Hideo Kojima).

Listen


[ 2020.02.23 ] Of Interest

Recent previews shared by Artyom Trakhanov and Simon Roy have me excited to see and read more of their far future sci-fi comic, Protector. The first issue was great, and the second hits shelves this coming week. Simon’s cover art for the last issue (No. 5) looks amazing!

Somehow, I had not seen this crazy thing before coming across it the other day on twitter: a lunar worm planetary roving vehicle concept from Philco’s Aeronutronic Division. Discovered in the tweets exchanged here.


[ 2020.02.23 ] Recently Acquired

So lately I’ve been buying small Japanese toys and models… as if I don’t collect enough stuff already. Got these things this weekend: 1/35 scale police and firefighter powered suits from the 1980s Maschinen Krieger sci-fi universe, created by Kow Yokoyama. They are referred to as SAFS, which is an acronym for Super Armored Fighting Suits.


[ 2020.02.15 ] Recently Acquired

Sources: Agency, Munich '72


[ 2020.02.12 ] Recently Acquired


[ 2020.02.05 ] Recently Acquired


[ 2019.10.13 ] Current Listening

VIABLE SYSTEMS 2 by Keith Berry / Released August 20, 2019

Discovered via WARREN ELLIS LTD

Listen


[ 2019.08.22 ] Current Listening

Prime 16 by Gesceap / Released August 22, 2019

Listen


[ 2019.08.10 ] Current Listening

ABSURDA by Metavari

  1. Six Figures Getting Sick (Six Times) 03:59
  2. Absurd Encounter with Fear 02:07
  3. The Alphabet 03:44
  4. Theme from The Grandmother 04:30
  5. Industrial Soundscape (Excerpt) 04:04
  6. Absurda 02:45
  7. Premonitions Following an Evil Deed 01:01
  8. Dream #7 (Extended) 02:33
  9. The 3 Rs / Epiloque for The 3 Rs 04:09
  10. Ballerina, part 1 05:00
  11. Ballerina, part 2 07:26

Released April 13, 2019

Listen


[ 2019.07.13 ] Recent Work - A New Logotype for Future Crunch

[ Note on Subject ]

Redesigned logotype for Future Crunch, a team of science communicators based in Australia. Client: futurecrun.ch

A few kind words from Future Crunch, in their recent newsletter:

“When we told Roger who we were and what we did, he got it straight away. Even better, once he was done he enlisted the services of a talented animator, Travis Krause to bring the logo to life. It's going to look great on our slide decks and in our Instagram videos. Now we just need to make a television series to go with it :)”

Read the rest here, in The Crunch #82.


[ 2019.06.26 ] Speculative Identities + Patreon

Got a few new developments to announce.

First, I’m rebooting my efforts at Speculative Identities, where I had been surveying logos that appear in science fiction. The site has been dormant for a little over a year, so it’s way past time that I get back to work there. To go along with that, I’ve updated the Speculative Identities logo and I’m also working on promotional items.

I’ve also launched a creator’s page on Patreon. There are currently two tiers — one is for a low-commitment general backing of my self-initiated creative efforts and research, and the other is specifically targeting Speculative Identities with a boost to help get it moving again. More info on that can be found here: Roger Strunk’s Patreon Creator Page

The idea is to devote more of my time to things I’m passionate about, with the hope that maybe enough people will buy into what is coming out of it to pay for some of the time that it takes away from client work. And when it comes to Speculative Identities, that is a significant chunk of time.

If I’m really lucky, this will also have the knock-on effect of connecting me with clients and collaborators that more specifically align with what I want to be doing as a designer and artist.

Time will tell.


[ 2019.06.10 ] The Time Bunker

Yesterday marked my first installment of "Roger Strunk's Time Bunker" in Warren Ellis' weekly newsletter, Orbital Operations.

The brief intro from that:

"Roger Strunk is a designer, artist and design historian with a special interest in versions of the future. He has a vast collection of strange design objects from all over the world, and has showcased his finds on IG and elsewhere for years. But he has so much stuff that it's hard to give it all space. So now Roger has landed his Time Bunker here with us. Let's look through The Terrifying Round Cosmic Void Window to see what he's found this week."

If that sounds interesting, you can subscribe here. Every week you'll see a new item that I've dug up, along with all the wisdom and good things Ellis is sharing on a regular basis. I highly recommend it.

Links: Warren Ellis, Orbital Operations Newsletter


[ 2019.03.07 ] Current Listening

TUTTI by Cosey Fanni Tutti

Tracklist

  1. Tutti 05:54
  2. Drone 04:25
  3. Moe 04:28
  4. Sophic Ripple 04:38
  5. Split 05:01
  6. Heliy 05:18
  7. En 04:28
  8. Orenda 04:49

Released February 8, 2019

Listen on Spotify


[ 2019.02.23 ] Current Listening

Tonal Paintings by Parallel Worlds

Track List

  1. Tonal Painting 4 05:49
  2. Utopia 06:35
  3. Blacktime 04:22
  4. Tonal Painting 1 03:23
  5. Sea Dream 05:39
  6. A Dream Whithin A Dream 05:48
  7. Tonal Painting 2 04:48
  8. Evening Rain 04:17

Released October 22, 2018

Listen on Bandcamp


[ 2019.02.18 ] Status Update

New Office:

At the beginning of the year, I moved out of my downtown loft apartment, where I was officing from home in a second bedroom, and set up shop in a shared workspace at Wichita’s Studio School. It’s an interesting arrangement, and I’m excited about its potential.

The space itself is an old classroom, Room 202, in what was originally a public school before it was shuttered in 2012. In 2017, the property was purchased by Logan Pajunen, who founded what he called the Studio School — a place where Wichita artists and entrepreneurs could lease rooms as studios and offices, at affordable rates and retrofitted for their needs. It’s proved to be just about perfect for ours.

There are four of us in the studio space. Myself, still working as an independent designer and illustrator, and still amassing mountains of books and design ephemera. Luke Bott, a friend that I’ve worked alongside in the past, is in the studio full-time working remotely for his employer Mattson Creative. My friend Brad Ruder, who manages the in-house creative department at BG Products, has pulled together a small office and library where he drops in to work on his passion projects. I know Brad through his work as the curator of Tangent Lab art gallery, and the Tilt Union screen printing studio and workshops he operated. And starting this week, my friend and colleague Travis Krause will be in the studio full-time, after taking the leap into freelance. A designer and motion graphics artist, Travis is someone I worked with when I first started out in design, when I interned at a motion graphics studio where he was employed. We’ve been talking about the potential of working together on projects for awhile now, and this offers the best chance yet to see if we can make it happen. Everyone I share the room with is extremely talented and it’s great how this all fell together. Add to this the interactions we have with other creatives working in the building, like photographer Kacy Meinecke who is our neighbor across the hall, and it will be interesting to see what all emerges from the experience.

Beyond those things, it gave me the room I needed for my constantly expanding design library and collection, along with getting my riso out of storage and out where I can use it. And with some room to breath, it makes the workshops I was thinking about hosting something that can actually happen.

New Work:

I need to start putting things out into the world, to let everyone know I’m alive and give new client work a way of finding its way to me. I’ve been coasting too long now, relying on Apigee and Google Cloud projects for the majority of my income. This is not a new problem for me, but it is a more urgent one as those projects are coming to a close. And to get more of the work I haven't been doing, like logos and branding, this will mean self-initiated work showing the sorts of things that I want to be doing. Travis and I are kind of in the same boat here, so there's a chance we'll work together on self-initiated motion graphics pieces — something that could give me some much needed drawing exercise.

Side Projects:

Now that I’m settled in the new office, it’s time to kick some things into gear.

Speculative Identities has sat dormant for too long. I turned all my attention to creating this personal site in my time outside of client work, and I never got back to my Speculative Identities research like I wanted to. It’s a shame, because it’s something I really enjoyed working on. So I need to breath new life into it, and I’m also considering some things that could help make it more sustainable for me, like using Patreon to fund some of the time investment. I hope to have things figured out by the end of the month, where I can get that ball rolling again.

The risograph I own, that I’ve already mentioned, is just a few steps away from my desk. Between the four of us in the studio, we should have no trouble finding ways to put it to work. And once we have some output to show and reasonably reliable results, I can start thinking about hosting riso workshops here in the Studio School.

And more writing. I’ve had it in mind to start documenting and commenting on some of the design material I’ve collected over the years, especially relating to areas of science and technology, and how ideas about the future are realized through graphic design. There’s a place for that documentation here on my personal site, in the Collected section. But I also need to revive a conversation I had going with another designer, where he was hoping to give me a writing platform as a regular columnist on a new website.

Personal Life:

I don't have one. Nothing new there. I guess I can say that the dog is doing fine, which is good. And the Toyota Van is broken down with transmission problems, which is bad.


[ 2019.01.15 ] Current Listening

STATION IDENT: VOLUME 01 by Zac Bentz (ASCAP), Xero Music

"Long ago, a broadcast network was established across the galaxy. Each of the 78 stations played a unique identification signal across the network once a day as a sort of “hello.”

As the universe inevitably expanded, these stations fell into disrepair. Many maintained their integrity for quite a while, while others quickly became corrupted and haunted. A small number, left to their own devices, came alive only to find something missing, never knowing what had been lost.

These “hello” signals, known as the STATION IDENT, continue to be played as the stations decay. This collection, the first of three, hopes to preserve those signals in whatever state possible, before their inevitable dissolution."

Released January 15, 2019

Listen on Bandcamp


[ 2018.12.01 ] Current Listening

One Weird Trick by Ghost Cop

Track List

  1. Leaving the Plaza at Dawn (Part 1) 04:24
  2. Accelerate 03:31
  3. Enhance 04:55
  4. Quiet Test 04:12
  5. One Weird Trick 04:56
  6. Approaching the City Limits (Part 2) 01:31
  7. Forever and Never 05:17
  8. Listen to the Sound 04:17
  9. Lay Down 04:02
  10. Shine 06:52
  11. Accelerate STRIPPER™ Remix 05:12

Released November 9, 2018

Listen on Bandcamp | Spotify


[ 2018.11.30 ] Current Listening

The Midnight Orchard by Neville Watson

Track List

  1. Interna Externa 02:51
  2. Come On In 05:55
  3. Anarcho Midnight 05:51
  4. Reet Dux 05:54
  5. Eine Kleine Emusik 06:03
  6. The Returning 03:55
  7. Twin Tub 06:15
  8. Dee Sides 05:13
  9. We Own The Night 03:59
  10. 4am In The Trees 05:45
  11. Displays Of Brotherly Love 05:02
  12. Phosphorescent 06:03

Released November 30, 2018

Listen on Bandcamp


[ 2018.11.29 ] Current Listening

Mutant City Acid by Posthuman

Track List

  1. Into Gestalt 08:14
  2. Nightride to New Reno 08:26
  3. Once Was 08:56
  4. Gods of Technology 07:28
  5. Junk Bonds 07:33
  6. Raid on Kyoto Quarter 03:53
  7. Shellworld Industries 05:36
  8. Abaskan Control 03:16
  9. Transit System Error 07:32
  10. Wishmountain 06:27
  11. Bonus - Mutant City Stories (Side A) 28:10
  12. Bonus - Mutant City Stories (Side B) 30:00

Released November 26, 2018

Listen on Bandcamp | Spotify


[ 2018.11.23 ] Orbital Maneuver Required

“In spaceflight, an orbital maneuver (otherwise known as a burn) is the use of propulsion systems to change the orbit of a spacecraft. The rest of the flight, especially in a transfer orbit, is called coasting.“

The end of the year is fast approaching, which has me thinking about the changes a new one will usher in. This time around, it's definitely an opportunity to consider some things and find new focus, as I'm faced with an inevitable change regarding my work situation.

Since early 2017, I’ve been primarily operating in the orbit of Apigee and Google as a contractor, safely coasting along on retainer from one quarter to the next. This is set to change though, as Apigee, having been bought by Google in 2016, will be completely rolled up into Google Cloud by the beginning of next year. When that time comes, they’ll be pulling the plug on Apigee’s current marketing site, and with that, the mission is over and my work there is done.

So it’s time to figure out what comes next.

I’m inclined to stick it out as a freelancer and independent designer, tracking down new work to replace what I’ll lose with this contract. It could be an opportunity to refocus and go after more of the branding and illustration work I enjoy doing. I know I definitely want to get back to writing for Speculative Identities on a regular basis. It’s fun and rewarding, and I think there is a good sized audience out there for it, if I can keep after it long enough for them to find it. Whatever I do, I'll need to reserve time for that.

There are some limits to what I’ve been able to accomplish as a freelancer though. Could I go a step further and launch some kind of studio or collaborative team, pulling together more talent, which would maneuver me into a position where I could go after bigger clients and projects?

Then there’s the question of whether or not I should even stay in Wichita, Kansas, where I’ve been based since I finished up my design degree. I can’t help but wonder if I’ve been hurting myself by not relocating somewhere that would give me direct access to networks of people or organizations I’d want to work with, and who would want to work with me — overall, I've had a hard time finding a home for my work in Wichita. So maybe it’s time to pack it up, and move closer to the action? I could also look for a full-time opportunity somewhere, leveraging all of the UX/UI experience I’ve gained working with Google, to see what that grows into and where it takes me. Or maybe I could make more of an effort to travel in search of work, with my base of operations remaining in Wichita?

These are all things I’ve been kicking around, but I can’t say that I have any solid answers or direction yet. I guess if you’re reading this, I’d ask that you please keep me in mind. I’m on the lookout for new opportunity and putting the word out amongst friends and colleagues. It feels like the future is wide open, and the next thing could come from anywhere.


[ 2018.10.02 ] My Island in the Net

I’d been thinking about this for awhile — the idea that I should build not just a new portfolio site, but something that could serve as my base of operations online, for both professional and personal purposes. Social media just isn't doing it for me these days. Facebook I ditched years ago. Twitter I still use, but at this point I’m just a lurker. And while I embraced Instagram, I knew it was only a matter of time after Facebook purchased the platform, that I’d be forced to abandon it as well. That time hasn’t come just yet, but it pays to be prepared. And then there was the feeling that something was lost, when all of the blogs and weird personal websites we used to maintain before social media, fell off and burned out.

So a few months back, when I found myself lucky enough to possess resources and bandwidth (if I paused some side projects) to actually create that site I was imagining, I figured it was the time to act.

And I wasn’t the only one thinking along these lines. Coincidentally, about the time I started in on the design of this site, Warren Ellis wrote the following on Morning, Computer: “RSS isn’t dead. Social media works great for link notifications, not so much for complete thoughts or even not-fully-baked considerations. The fields are on fire and being sprayed with liquid shit. Dig your own garden, build your own structures, make your own space.”

So here I am, in something of my own making, with much thanks owed to my friend Rich for the dev assist. My own little island in the net, housing and broadcasting my work and ideas and whatever else I want visitors to find when they come looking for me on the web.