Roger Dean was born in 1944 in Kent but his father’s job took the family abroad to Cyprus, Greece and Hong Kong. They came back to Britain in 1959 and he went to school in Ashford, Kent. In 1961 Roger Dean was accepted to do a three year course in Design, which started with him studying Silversmithing and then Furniture Design. He took a one year intermediate course and it was during this time that he started work on the designs for the ‘Sea Urchin’ chair. In 1965 he moved to London’s Royal College of Art where he made the chair based on his designs and designed his house as well. Roger Dean studied under Professor David Pye and graduated in 1968 with an MDesRCA. He decided to stay in London. Before long Roger Dean was doing design work for Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
It was at this time that Roger Dean embarked upon the work he would become so well known for – designing and painting album covers for rock bands. The first was for a band called Gun. In 1971 Roger Dean designed the cover for the first Osibisa album. After this the commissions for Roger Dean album covers flooded in but he still found time to pursue his love of architecture and a small exhibition of his work was held in Florence. In 1971 Roger Dean did his first cover for the band YES and, with his brother Martyn, designed a stage set for the band.
During the 1970s Roger Dean’s name was synonymous with album cover art as bands clamored to use his prolific creative skills, and he went on to work on several book and film projects. Roger Dean founded the publishing house Dragon’s Dream and published Alan Lee’s illustrated Mabinogion among other great titles. Over the years Roger Dean has continued to paint album covers for the likes of YES, Uriah Heep, Osibisa, Asia and Budgie, whilst remaining involved in design work which now includes working with computer software. In remote seclusion and plenty of space to paint large canvases, Roger Dean still lives near Brighton where he first set up home in 1972.
Roger Dean is one of Britain’s best known fantasy artists but he says “I don’t really think of myself as a fantasy artist but as a landscape painter”. Always the keen innovator, many of Roger Dean’s paintings use multiple mediums of gouache, watercolour, ink, enamel, crayon and montage. The cover for one Uriah Heep album used all of them!
In recent years Roger Dean has concentrated a great deal on his architectural ideas and building some of the homes he has designed over the years. Roger Dean's approach is to use more curved surfaces and avoid jagged edges to try and make a less stressful environment. We can be sure that whatever he does it will always be innovative and Roger Dean continues to be a source of inspiration for many other artists.
Roger Dean's work on the Web
The album cover posters
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Roger Dean profile Copyright © 2004 Artists UK