Roger Dean: Artist Behind Iconic art

He’s the artist whose otherworldly visions have become synonymous with Yes, and have not just inspired many movies but are pretty much a genre on its own. Now with Ai generators trying to immitate a look he pioneered it is time to look at the master who created these visionary worlds.

Roger Dean’s career had humble beginnings. From his childhood adventures on Lion Rock in Hong Kong to his love for landscapes and pathways, Dean’s connection with the built and natural environment has shaped his artistic journey.

Video copyright Trading Boundaries 

Leaving behind the enchanting Lion Rock and the nine dragons at the age of 14, Dean returned to the UK in the 1950s. Despite the post-war austerity, he fondly remembers walking in the countryside as a child, finding solace and inspiration in the beauty of nature. As the 1960s unfolded, Dean pursued his artistic passions at the Canterbury College Of Art and later joined the Royal College Of Art.

But it was his love for the outdoors that truly fueled his creativity. Dean and his friends would climb mountains in Scotland and Wales, immersing themselves in the breathtaking landscapes. These experiences left an indelible mark on Dean’s soul, shaping his artistic vision and inspiring his iconic designs.

Dean’s visionary worlds, where magic, nature, and retro-future technologies intertwine, have captivated music fans since the late 1960s. His art, with its poetic yet unwritten epic narrative, has become an integral part of popular culture. For over six decades, his designs have graced the covers of numerous albums and bands, most notably the progressive rock band Yes.

Images copyright Roger Dean order prints from his beautiful website

Images copyright Roger Dean order prints from his beautiful website

Yes’s association with Roger Dean began with their 1971 album, Fragile, and has continued, with only a few interruptions, to the present day. Steve Howe, the guitarist of Yes, attests to the profound impact of Dean’s artwork on the band’s identity. “If it had been up to me, I would never have let anybody else do sleeves for us,” says Howe. “Roger is a loved, respected, and admired friend.”

Dean’s artwork serves as a visual extension of the sonic worlds that Yes strives to create. The band’s ambitious music demands album covers that reflect their grandeur. While the initial cover of The Yes Album may be considered “pretty lame” by Howe, it eventually became an endearing symbol for the band’s fans.

Throughout the years, there were times when some members of Yes hesitated to work with Dean, but his unique artistic vision prevailed. Dean’s designs have become an integral part of Yes’s identity, capturing the essence of their music and creating a visual language that resonates with their fans.

As Roger Dean’s career continues to evolve, his artwork continues to inspire and enchant. His iconic album covers have left an indelible mark on the music industry, transcending time and becoming timeless symbols of artistic expression.

So the next time you gaze upon a Yes album cover or immerse yourself in one of Roger Dean’s visionary worlds, remember the young boy climbing Lion Rock, the landscapes of Scotland and Wales, and the passion for the built and natural environment that shaped the artist behind the iconic album covers.

For more of his work, please visit the beautiful site:


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