Known as a concept designer and visual futurist, Syd Mead is an artist whose works include production designs for the movies Blade Runner, Tron, Aliens, and 2010. He has worked on car prototypes for Ford Motor Company and interiors for the supersonic Concorde. His work has been collected in the books Sentinel, Oblagon and Sentury, among others.
In an interview with Ballistic Publishing, Mead mentioned that he was working on “a series of Hypervan illustrations featuring my notion of the ‘next thing’ in luxurious, high-speed, private transport, featuring in-wheel induction motors, sealed cabin with RGB laminate with stereo/holographic variable eye-point focus and electro-lastic membrane interior surfaces linked to encephalographic monitoring control system.”
“I find that ‘future’ stuff I read about happening ‘now’ I either illustrated twenty or thirty years ago, or have thought about and inserted, visually, into a painting.”
“Keep in mind that object-specific realism needs, most of all, some form of coherent idea behind it.”
“Idea trumps technique every time,” Mead said in the interview. “Don’t assume that technique alone will save your ass. It still is the idea that wins … every time. Remember that elaborate technique and dumb story produces a demo reel, not a narrative.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mead described his work on Blade Runner.
“We called the whole look ‘retro deco,’ ” Mead said. “What I did in my imagination was to mash together every architectural style I could think of. So, I violated architectural motif, and it’s funny because architects love that film. Maybe it’s cathartic for them. Because it’s a wholly fabricated world, and the typical thing to do would have been to give it one style.”
“We don’t go into any future barehanded, from zero,” Mead said. “There’s always baggage because the audience has to, in some way, recognize what you’ve designed.”
Syd Mead is the Third Honorary Citizen of Heliopoli.