Isle of Man News - POSTED Tue 16-08-2016

Islands and Bridges, The Art of Roger Dean

by Manx National Heritage

Islands and Bridges, The Art of Roger Dean

On 20 August 2016, masterpieces by internationally acclaimed artist and designer Roger Dean will be displayed in a new exhibition at the Manx Museum in Douglas.

Islands and Bridges, The Art of Roger Dean offers a rare opportunity to view some of Roger Dean’s most iconic original works.

Born in England in 1944, Roger Dean is well known for his work on album cover designs, logos and typefaces. His work has made a huge contribution to the visual identity of many bands, particularly progressive rock bands Yes and Asia. He began designing album covers in 1971 and has designed logos for record companies Virgin, Harvest and Vertigo, the logo for software company Psygnosis and redesigned the Tetris logo.

His work also includes architectural designs, stage sets, virtual-reality simulators and housing. With his brother Martyn he exhibited their first architectural prototype of a house at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in 1981. Dean has also established a successful career in book publishing with Dragon’s Dream, and Paper Tiger Books. His work continues to inspire generations of young designers and is much loved by fans worldwide.

Dean attended Canterbury College of Art where he achieved his National Diploma in Design. He then went on to London's Royal College of Art where he received a first for his Masters Degree and a silver medal for ‘Work of Special Distinction’. In his early career he designed the seating for the club ‘Upstairs’ at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, he then embarked upon the work for which he later became famed, designing and painting album covers for rock bands. His first design was for a band called Gun. In 1971 he 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 also did his first cover for the band Yes and in 1972 he began designing stage sets for the group which reflected the album cover designs.

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. He founded the publishing house Dragon's Dream and published the classic fantasy book ‘Mabinogion’, illustrated by Alan Lee who is best known for his work on the illustrated editions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

In 2002 he received an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Academy of Art University and in 2009 the Arts Institute of Bournemouth conferred an Honorary Fellowship. In 2013 he received a Gold Badge of Merit from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Over the years Roger Dean 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.

Around the world, over sixty million copies of Roger Dean’s images have been sold as album covers, posters, cards, calendars and books. His work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums including, The Royal Academy, The Royal College of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, The New York Cultural Centre and the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. He is one of the world’s best known fantasy artists.

Many of Roger's paintings use multiple mediums of gouache, watercolour, ink, enamel, crayon and montage, whilst his cover for one Uriah Heep album used all of them.

Islands and Bridges, The Art of Roger Dean will feature 26 of Roger Dean’s large scale paintings including album cover designs and two architectural models. To coincide with the launch of the exhibition, Isle of Man Post Office will release a specially commissioned set of stamps.

The exhibition is on display from 20 August 2016 to 19 November 2016 at the Manx Museum in Douglas, Isle of Man. It is generously supported by Flying Dragon Promotions Ltd, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Claremont Hotels and media partner 3FM.

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