Interview for Prog Magazine with Rich Wilson
Design For Life
With her stunning artwork adorning Synaesthesia’s debut album cover, the hugely talented Freyja Dean is following in some very large footsteps…
The cover art for Synaesthesia’s debut was created by Freyja Dean, who, apart from being a highly accomplished artist, is also Roger Dean’s daughter. It would be understandable for her to have wanted to avoid entering the ‘family business’ of prog-rock sleeve design, yet she reveals that she has no qualms about working in any artistic field.
“I guess there are a lot of people who grow up with their parents doing something, and you do it because they did,” she says. “Then it’s very difficult to move out of it because you’re not as good at anything else. You have an edge and denying that is difficult, so I think it was always going to be something that I did. The one problem that I did have was in art school. I got very excited about one of my projects and I remember my teacher said, ‘Freyja, you’ve got to be careful that this doesn’t look like a rehashed 70s album cover.’ That was so demoralizing. In the past people have also said that certain pieces of work looked like my dad’s and it used to really upset me because I used to think, ‘What was the point of doing it if it has all been done before?’ That’s why I guess you have to keep going.”
It’s that keenness to work in whatever area of design interests her that has ensured Dean hasn’t just been pigeonholed as a cover artist. That said, it remains an area of interest to her even if the gradual decline of the grand, blank canvas that was the LP sleeve has slightly discouraged her.
“I know it’s sort of a cliché to say that it’s nothing like when there were there were big gatefold LPs. Jewel cases really don’t have the magic of the vinyl. That’s one of the things that made me think if I am to go into this, perhaps nobody really cares anymore. But one thing that’s happening is that people are creating amazing things around the experience of the music at gigs and that really interests me. So I thought that if I did the album covers, I’d really like to get into the production side of the whole event.
“We were going to do some stuff with another band, which I hope works out, where we make giant backdrops with silk and use projectors, really to make it like how it was back in the beginning. And everyone is going back to LPs now as well- you see walls of them in record stores- so I’m hoping that it’s turning around so that what I do might get utilized more dramatically than I was expecting. Cover art isn’t something I’ve specifically pursued, but people do ask and that’s normally in the context of knowing dad’s work.”
If she continues to produce art as engaging as her current portfolio, it won’t be long before she’s rightly lauded in her own right, and her father’s enduring artistic legacy won’t even be mentioned by interviewers.
By Rich Wilson for Prog Magazine