Even if you don’t number among Roger Dean’s many worldwide devotees, if you’re of a certain age you’re likely to find his work eerily familiar. And with good reason – his unique vision was responsible for some of the most iconic imagery of the 1970s and 80s, and its popularity has gone on to span more than four decades. The inclusiveness of his work means that it is just as likely to be found blu-tacked to the wall of a suburban bedsitting room as it is hanging in an international art gallery.
Along with artists like Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon) Roger is credited with transforming the status of the album cover for all time, elevating it from mere packaging to a work of art in its own right. His designs for legendary prog-rock band Yes (at the time the most successful band in the world) gained him massive exposure; his covers for hit albums such as Tales from Topographic Oceans, Close to the Edge, Yessongs and Fragile won admiration from millions of fans globally. Roger’s artwork and trademark calligraphy became synonymous with the identity of the band and when, along with his brother Martyn, he was invited to conceive the stage set for the Yes USA tour it was seen as a natural progression.
Although perhaps best known for his paintings, Roger is also an accomplished designer and publisher. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, he won early acclaim for his Sea Urchin Chair, which was famously ‘borrowed’ by Lord Snowden for exhibition at the British Trade Fair in Brussels. The prototype for Sea Urchin Chair was also shown at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Design Centre, and was later acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum for their permanent exhibition. Roger was also commissioned to design the seating for the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.
Roger has a passionate interest in building design. The full-size prototype of his ‘curvilinear house’ – an organically inspired space for alternative living – made a dramatic impact at the Birmingham International Ideal Home Exhibition, where it became the focal point of the event with nearly 200,000 people passing through its doors. The house was also shown at the Tomorrow’s World exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre, and later visited the Glastonbury Music Festival (where it was the only habitable space free of mud!).
Published through his own Dragons Dream imprint, Roger’s first book, Views, went straight to number one in The Times best seller list, stayed there for eleven weeks and went on to sell over a million copies. He later produced a second book of his work, the highly acclaimed Magnetic Storm, in collaboration with his brother, Martyn. Roger is also involved in the design and production of computer games.
Irrepressibly productive, Roger continues to work and exhibit, both collaboratively and in his own right. He is currently occupied with several major architectural design projects, including Willowater and Home for Life.