Roger Allen is a graphic designer and photographer based in Vancouver. His work has appeared in Adbusters, Artsprojkt, Color., and Vice, and he has shown his work in exhibitions across North America. He currently works as a freelance illustrator/writer/graphic designer and does in-house graphics for the Arts Club Theatre Company. Here is a glimpse into his daily life.
1. Like most people, for me every day starts in the shower. Mornings can be tough as I usually stay up late. I like finding invigorating shampoos and soaps to wake me up.
2. I love all the product packaging found in grocery stores. I seem to be constantly ducking into corner shops searching for some new strange item and checking out the weird font treatments on cracker boxes. I never leave a store without buying some form of energy drink—often I don’t even know why. Am I addicted to them?
3. My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20. I was 11. By the next summer I was at a computer camp obsessively trying to learn how to create video games, and it was a dream come true to later work as a lead artist at Electronic Arts. How video games continue to push boundaries amazes me. There has never been a time when video games were not a big part of my everyday life. Some may say that’s nerdy, but I think it’s rad. Elevator Action is one of my favorites.
4. Every day I work on just about every form of print material, from logos to bridge banners. The heavy workload can be really chaotic so I try to keep my desk uncluttered and organized. It’s also important to me to have some references to things that make me happy—whenever I need a mental break, I can escape into my memories.
5. I attended Emily Carr, on Granville Island, for seven years—three for fine arts and four for communication design. And now the studio I work at is also on Granville Island. I love all the paths that cut through the surrounding condos toward it. Every day I try to take a different route and most of the time I pass by the island’s b-ball court, an often overlooked and non-touristy corner.
6. When I was a little kid I would make mix tapes from the records that my older brothers owned. While listening to the music, I loved looking at the covers and reading the liner notes. I recognized right away that records were important and I started collecting them as soon as I could. Recently, I’ve been digitizing the rare stuff on a vinyl-to-MP3 record player, and the memories have come rushing back. Black Moon’s “Who Got Da Props” EP is one that stands out.
7. Ever since receiving my first set of Micronauts, when I was 10, I have been collecting pop culture toys. I can be found daily scanning collector sites for rare Frankenberry, Snoopy, and still-in-the-box Baron Karza figures. Over the last seven years, I have been buying a lot of Be@rbricks; it’s awesome how many different ways the same shape can be presented.
8. Last summer I decided to face my fear of deep water and I enrolled in beginners’ swimming classes at the Kits outdoor pool. At the end of the three-week program, I still couldn’t swim, so this year I was really determined to learn. Three more weeks in the pool and now I can swim…kinda.
What do you do and where?
In 1991, I started creating illustrations for West Beach. From that experience, I gained more confidence and continued to tackle larger goals, such as being part of a small team that created The Ladner Skatepark, achieving a Bachelor of Design degree from ECUAD, working as a lead artist at Electronic Arts, and launching my own photo and design sites. I currently work as a freelance illustrator/writer/graphic designer, as well as the in-house graphic designer for the Arts Club Theatre Company. Some of my interests include skateboarding and collecting books illustrated by Edward Gorey.
What neighborhood do you live in?
My wife and I live in East Vancouver.
Where can we find you work?
My work has appeared in Adbusters Magazine, Artsprojkt, Color Magazine, Capital Magazine, CBC Radio 3 website, Ion Magazine, Playstation Magazine, Vice Magazine and photo book, and Vorn Magazine. Recently, I exhibited work in the touring exhibitions A Rolling Perspective, and Smile On Your Brother.