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 until 1961 when he 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. After this Roger Dean decided to stay in London and did 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 designed the cover for the first Osibisa album. After this the commissions for 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 he did his first cover for the band YES and with his brother Martyn Dean, designed a stage set for the YES tours.
During the 1970s Roger Dean's name was synonymous with album cover art as bands clamoured 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. Over the years he has continued to paint album covers for the likes of YES and Uriah Heep, whilst remaining involved in design work which now includes working with computer software. Roger Dean still lives near Brighton where he 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's paintings use multiple mediums of gouache, watercolour, ink, enamel, crayon and montage. His 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. His 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 Roger Dean does it will always be innovative and he continues to be a source of inspiration for many other artists.
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