Roger Dean (artist)
Roger Dean, DragonCon 2008.
31 August 1944 |
Ashford, Kent, England, United Kingdom
|Known for||Artist, designer, architect, publisher|
William Roger Dean (born 31 August 1944), known as Roger Dean, is an English artist, designer, and publisher. He is best known for his work on posters and album covers for musicians, which he began painting in the late 1960s. The artists for whom he did the most art are English rock bands Yes and Asia.
Life and work
Dean was born in Ashford, Kent, but he spent most of his childhood moving around the world with his British Army father. The family returned to England in 1959 where he was educated at Ashford Grammar School. He later earned a National Diploma of Design from the Canterbury College of Art (now the University for the Creative Arts). In 1968, he graduated from the Royal College of Art in London where he was a student of Professor David Pye. His Master's thesis was on 'The psychology of the built environment'. He has lived in East Sussex since 1972.
Invention vs design
Beginning in the field of design, he preferred to distinguish between design (the reworking of existing models), and invention (making something new). One of his inventions was the "sea urchin chair." It was a foam chair, which, though appearing spherical, would conform to the sitter, who could obtain a seated position of varying angles. Later, he was asked to design a "landscape" of similar seating for a club belonging to Ronnie Scott. His "retreat pod" chair design was featured in the film A Clockwork Orange.
His first album cover work was in 1968 for the Gun. He also did the artwork for Atomic Rooster's album In Hearing of... This album cover hinted at the inimitable style for which he would later become famous. In the same year Dean produced the cover for the first album by the African/Caribbean band Osibisa, which featured a hybrid insect/elephant. This was much closer to Dean's work as we came to know it and it attracted widespread attention. Later that year, he began the partnership with the progressive rock bands Yes (and Asia) for which he is best known. His first design for Yes was for their album Fragile. Dean designed the now-classic Yes "bubble" logo, which first appeared on the album Close to the Edge, and continued to create covers for the band until as recently as 2014 (Heaven & Earth). Yes guitarist Steve Howe said, "There is a pretty tight bond between our sound and Roger's art." In addition to their album covers, Dean also contributed to his brother Martyn Dean's stage set designs for the band.
Known primarily for the dreamy, other-worldly scenes he has created for Yes, Budgie, Uriah Heep, Gentle Giant and other bands, Dean has said, "I don't really think of myself as a fantasy artist but as a landscape painter." Characteristic landscapes show graceful stone arches (as shown in Arches Mist, below) or floating islands, while many paintings show organic appearing habitats (such as shown in the cover for Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe). Though he primarily works with watercolour paints, many of his paintings make use of multiple media, including gouache, ink, enamel, crayon and collage. In addition to his cover paintings, Dean is respected for his calligraphic work, designing logos and titles to go with his paintings.
Video game art
Beginning in 1985 with the software company Psygnosis, Dean has been responsible for the cover artwork for several video games, including Shadow of the Beast, Tetris Worlds as well as a redesign of the Tetris logo.
Three compilations of his work have been published, including Views (1975) (the success of which led him to form publishing house Paper Tiger Books), Magnetic Storm (1984), and Dragon's Dream (2008). In addition, his architectural and furniture work have been exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum and in the Royal Academy.
Legal case against James Cameron
In 2013, Dean filed a legal action in U.S. District Court New York claiming that film director James Cameron was inspired by 14 of his original images in the making the 2009 blockbuster film Avatar. Dean sought damages of $50m. Although the filmmakers admitted in court to being influenced by the artist's work, Dean's case was dismissed in 2014.
Video game covers
- 1986 Brataccas, Mindscape Inc./Psygnosis
- 1987 Barbarian, Psygnosis
- 1987 Terrorpods, Psygnosis
- 1988 Chrono Quest, Psygnosis
- 1988 Obliterator, Psygnosis
- 1989 Shadow of the Beast, Psygnosis/Reflections
- 1989 Stryx, Psyclapse
- 1990 Infestation, Psygnosis
- 1990 Shadow of the Beast II, Psygnosis/Reflections
- 1991 Amnios, Psygnosis
- 1992 Shadow of the Beast III, Psygnosis/Reflections
- 1992 Agony, Psygnosis
- 1992 Faceball 2000, Bullet-Proof Software
- 2001 Tetris Worlds, THQ
- 2007 Tetris Splash, Tetris Online, Inc. (logo design)
- The Flights of Icarus (ISBN 0-905895-16-9 editor, contributor). Large format colour book with paintings by Dean, Martyn Dean and others. Edited by Donald Lehmkuhl, Martyn Dean and Roger Dean.
- Views (1975) (ISBN 978-0061717093) is a large-format colour book with full page and double page images of Dean's works, both architectural and artistic. The text was written by Dominy Hamilton and Carla Capalbo in association with Dean. The architectural section was written by Donald Lehmkuhl.
- Magnetic Storm (1984) (ISBN 978-0061717109) First published in 1984, Magnetic Storm followed the million-selling Views. Employing a large format the book is a retrospective of work accomplished since its predecessor. Embracing designs for record sleeves, rock stages, movie projects, architecture, games consoles, landscapes, and books, Magnetic Storm features everything from aircraft livery to the Yes logo. The new edition streamlines the original format but keeps the combination of concept sketches and the finished works. It features revised design and typography, a new foreword, and a newly finished painting that Dean supplied especially for the front cover of the edition.
- Dragon's Dream (2008) (ISBN 978-0061626975) Dragon's Dream makes up the Roger Dean trilogy. A more ambitious work than its predecessors, it celebrates Dean's work from the last twenty years. This encompasses original paintings; album covers, logos, and stage designs for bands including Yes; virtual worlds, characters, and logos for computer games companies such as Psygnosis, Bullet-Proof Software, and Tetris; and concepts and designs for both opera and animated movies. Finally, there is a review of Dean's eco-friendly architecture, featuring the prototypes with which he addresses the issue of sustainable living.
- Roger Dean (1975). Views. Reissue: Pomegranate (1993): ISBN 1-56640-448-7
- Roger Dean (1984). Magnetic Storm. Reissue: Pomegranate (1993): ISBN 1-56640-449-5.
- Roger Dean's profile at MobyGames. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
- "James Cameron sued by artist Roger Dean over Avatar". BBC News. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- Couch, Aaron. James Cameron Wins Avatar Idea Theft Lawsuit Against Artist", Hollywood Reporter, September 17, 2014
- "Mike Absalom Music Shop". Mikeabsalom.com. Retrieved 9 February 2012.