Artist Discoveries: Roger Dean

Roger Dean is probably most well known for his iconic album artworks created for the likes of ‘Yes’ and ‘Asia’ — for me, I came to know his work from one single book that my dad owned, a compendium of the artist’s work, processes and sketches purchased well before it became the done thing for artists to create their own art books. I remember poring over it for ages, drawn in by the vibrant colours, fantastical landscapes and sinuous creatures. I think Roger Dean is perhaps before his time, it feels like he accesses a future that is yet to arrive and sees worlds we have yet to discover.

Even ‘Avatar’, the movie so eye-poppingly new and futuristic gave more than a nod to Roger Dean’s work — borderline stealing by my mind — since I don’t believe he was credited at all for the drawing inspiration from his work, even though the likenesses to his landscapes and creatures are astonishing.

Using entirely traditional techniques Roger’s work is stunningly colourful. I can’t get enough of the rich hues in his shadows or the way he combines random marbling effects with billowing cloud-scapes and distant floating mountains. Sinuous forms evolve from dissolving ranges of colour and slowly evolve into otherworldly structures, to say that the imagination can run wild is an understatement!

Whilst some of his artwork seems entirely naturalistic, featuring beautiful landscapes or island scenes, it is accented with strange and yet fabulous musings on technology, such as his mechanoid horses, elephants with tank-like guns for heads and other fantasical flying technology.

Although I don’t tend to bring the mechanical into my artwork at all I have a deep respect for artists who do. Roger Dean being one of those!

See his work here.