Ballistic Publishing Artist Profiles show all

Syd Mead is one of the most celebrated concept designers of our time, having been responsible for many memorable designs from feature films to interiors and even toys. His most well-known works include production designs for Blade Runner, TRON, Aliens and 2010, the pivotal science fiction movies that got many budding visual effects artists inspired to enter professional careers in this field.

Syd Mead recently accepted an invitation to serve on the EXPOSÉ 2 Advisory Committee and Jury , whose task is to assist in the selection of artworks and award winners for the computer graphic industry's premiere annual art book. We visited Syd Mead at his home studio in Pasadena, CA, where Syd was able to share with Ballistic Publishing readers about his career, artwork and advice. Not only did we go out to visit Syd Mead and have a glimpse of his domain, the artworks presented in this article had to be retrieved from traditional film archives and scanned, making this article an extremely special and exclusive treat!

Tell us about yourself. How did you get into a career doing art? What have you worked on and what are you doing now?

I started drawing at the age of three, drawing cars with people inside, door cuts, wheels with interior that. By age six I was starting to construct scenario with perspective - that is, objects in background were smaller than same objects in foreground. By high-school I could draft the human figure and animal figures very accurately. I 'sold' my first artwork in fifth grade (5 yrs plus 5); at ten years old....specially 'ordered' drawings of exotic animals colored in prismacolor pencil, a waxy, full spectrum pencil product. My first commercial job was doing animation inking on celluloid, then backgrounds and character origination for spot commercials for the intermission theatrical market.

You can check our website for the complete forty-seven year professional account history. I have been hired by some of the largest corporate manufacturing groups on the planet, plus working on signature projects such as the supersonic Concorde interiors, car prototypes for Ford, a myriad of products for Phillips N.V. in Holland and invitational speaking engagements for academia, media, professional associations and corporate groups worldwide.

Now, I am doing 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.

Art Narrative

United States Steel: LeMans (Top) - type commercial market coupe. This was done in 1963, decades before the Lamborghini Diablo, the Mucialago, etc. I knew that someday these kinds of 'supercars' would be commercially available, albeit at stratospheric prices... but if you understand the concept of amortization, they are not all that expensive! The first production Ford that rolls off the production line is THE MOST EXPENSIVE car produced up to that point. A hundred thousand down line, THAT's the price point target.

Hypervan on Crimson Plaza (Middle Right) - I finished this illustration about a month ago and am now painting the second in the series of, eventually, six or seven.


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