Monday 30 September 2013

Visual Futurist

Ever since TRON and Blade Runner I have been a huge fan of Syd Mead. I own some of his out-of-print books and still marvel at his extraordinary sense of colour, light and scale every time I look at them. From all kinds of incredible vehicles and machines to landscapes and architecture, his work is unique and instantly recognizeable. You can get online digital versions of some of them. They are definitely worth it (for a small fee).

Here's where you can get them (including preview samples): Sentinel II (one of his first books) is a general collection. Sentinel 3 has more futuristic cars. Sentury II features line work and sketches (amazing energy) and some renderings of preliminary TRON cycle concepts. Not only is Mr. Mead a "visual futurist," as he likes to call himself, he is an unbelievable artist with analog media including markers and watercolours. There is a 4 disc DVD collection of his techniques available that is not to be missed.

If you would like a quick intro, there is a great little video bio on YouTube too. Steven Lisberger (director of TRON) is in it along with some other great design and production people who talk about his incredible talent. Syd had a profound influence on the look of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. There's such a famous story about Syd showing Ridley his concept for the police "spinner" and Ridley is blown away by the background Syd created for the flying vehicle's distant future urban context. When Ridley saw it, he said that was what he wanted his film to look like.

Here's a link to the gallery on Syd's website. You can also check out what he is up to these days and where he will be appearing. As one of the world's most sought-after creative designers and artists, be sure to check it out.

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