Relayer is one of the most iconic of the Yes album designs and has appeared high up in many lists for best album cover on a par with Tales From Topographic Oceans. Roger has often said that “The Gates of Delirium” together with “Soon”, a section of the piece, is his favourite Yes track. He has also said that he felt that “The Gates of Delirium” would have made a much better title for both the album and the painting than “Relayer”, having both a far greater resonance and relevance. Relayer has always been one of his favourite paintings and together with Asia’s ‘Alpha, represented the high point of his ‘drawn’ works on stretched paper before he changed his style for major coloured pieces by painting directly on canvas (usually linen).
It was painted at a time when the expectation was for Roger to paint in ever more vivid colours and this, a drawing tinted with water colour in little more than the water used to rinse the brush, was in sharp contrast to that notion.
The energy of the painting is conveyed in the swirling forms of the huge gothic structures, with the snakes adding a fluid coda of their own. Roger has very often created creatures that are made up entirely from nature such as the Dragonflies in the square chop Yes logos which were produced as an accurate black and white pen drawing, yet the wing markings come from moths and finally in two cases the colouring is based on tropical fresh water fish. With this in mind Roger had long held a wish to revisit the natural history of the two snakes and the making of this print gave him the opportunity.
The new versions are based largely on Rattlesnakes especially the horns over the eyes, yet he did not include the very dramatic ‘keeled’ scales of this species wanting something sleeker. So the patterns and the smoother scales are from the viper family and the spine is from a fish.
The print is a combination of elements from the original painting and the new painting completed in October 2019 and has been produced with a mix of inkjet (giclée) and silkscreen (serigraph) printing techniques.


Paper 300 lb’s (640 gsm) Waterford Watercolour Paper
Paper Size 30” x 17.5” (762mm x 445mm)
Image Size 26” x 13” (585mm x 395mm)
Edition Size 275 plus 27 artists proofs
© Roger Dean 2019


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