United Kingdom • born in 1944

Roger Dean is an English artist who is working in the genre of fantasy. The famous British artist, who has been designing decorating the album covers for legendary rock bands with fantasy paintings, began to collaborate with musicians in the late 1960s. The name of the  "founder of intelligent fantasy" is well-known today also because of the views in Cameron’s Avatar movie.

Roger began his art career in his youth. After proper art education (Canterbury School of Art, Royal College of Art in London, architecture and design), Roger Dean began to creating pouf chairs that embrace any form of body, “science fiction” scenes with space pilots, and Boschian horror picture for the cover of the Gun group.

But very quickly the young artist came to create his own original art worlds. There, sailing fish ply space, islands soar in the sky, mushroom-shaped rocks grow in the water, and even elephants have ears-wings. Today, such fantasies in art may not be new, but they appeared largely due to Dean and several other “pioneers of the style”.

Soon his first paintings for the rock band Yes followed, which was gaining popularity in the early 70s, and a legendary logo appeared, which is now included in numerous textbooks and charts on design. Perhaps, precisely for this project Dean created the greatest number of works - a fabulous philosophical epos, and the solo albums of his participants.  Dean's work for the Asia band is also very popular. The master also designed covers for the Uriah Heep, as well as many other bands.

Roger Dean paints in the old school manner, with a brush and tempera, and each painting passes the route from the notebooks with a number of pencil sketches to a very large canvas. He makes photos of unusual rocks, looks through the albums about nature, and his “signature” patterns and ornaments can be found on real skins of tropical fish and butterfly wings. Dean draws dragons, biorobots (he painted them before the computer era), and "living" coral thickets in the purple deserts of another worlds.

The artist jokes that his “extraordinary sense of space”, which is noted by critics and the public, is dictated by the “burning” deadlines. "I just do not have time to fill everything with a large number of objects!" Dean smiles. He is surely cunning: it takes years to create some of his works, and he is carefully designing the compositions. “I began to paint my best work when my daughter was born. And the picture is not finished yet! ”the artist says.

By the way, besides owls, lizards, tigers, fish and dragons, Roger Dean loves cats very much: when his pet ran its paws through the sky on a fresh work for Yes, the artist did not remove the "traces of crime" on the canvas! On digital images they are retouched, but in all the books and albums of Dean's paintings are the very hands that have already stepped into history.

Another facet of the artist's work is his architectural projects. Long before "The Lord of the Rings" movie, back in the 70s, Dean was first to create a model and later a real round nesting "eco-house." It can be compared with Palais Bulles - the former villa of Pierre Cardin near Cannes, which was built in 1989  according to the design of the famous Hungarian architect Antti Lovag.

Together with his daughter (Freya Dean - an artist), Roger Dean from time to time designs performances. He is also a publisher: his Paper Tiger company specializes in albums on contemporary art, books with colorful illusions.

Written by Olga Potekhina

Go to biography


View all publications


All exhibitions of the artist
View all artist's artworks
Whole feed