Legendary sci-fi artist Syd Mead dead at 86

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/30/syd-mead-1933-2019.html


Oh. I have a sad.

Huge influence on my early years, when I drew pictures of futuristic cars (so about nine or so).


Well hell:worried:
I guess we’ll just have to make shiny futurism for real now, then.


Oh man, I have been so affected by this man’s vision and work since my early years! Thank you for stretching our imaginations, Syd! While you may have painted pictures of a somewhat gloomy future, at least it gave us many years to mentally prep for it! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I first discovered Mead’s work back in 1979, the same way I discovered the work of Chris Foss and Roger Dean at that time – through a glossy art book published by Dragon’s Dream.
I remember gazing, at age 11, at the fascinating illustrations in the Mead book and thinking, “Someone needs to make a movie in which Syd Mead does the production design and Vangelis does the music. They’d work perfectly together.”
Three years later, Blade Runner was released.
And what elements of that movie do people now discuss most…?
(I am still awaiting my check.)
For me, he made the world of the visual imagination that much larger and richer, that much more full of possibility and, yes, feeling. I feel fortunate and glad.


I’d love to see Mead’s and Foss’s entire portfolio. You know there are many, many more sketches and finished works than there are ones that have been published or brought to life in films.


Thats a terrible loss.
I always loved his designs, he was a great influence to me when I drew Sci-Fi stuff,

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Sad news. I didn’t realize how much he’d influenced my fundamental taste for sci-fi stylistically (he and Ralph Mcquarrie) until I was much older.

And it’s not just the designs and style. His subtle ingenuity in world-building and detail makes the images so much more than fanciful car design exercises: the reflection of the NJ turnpike signs in the car’s surface, the kid trying to peer into the reflective window, the slight turn of the car’s wheel at the ticket kiosk – Barthes’ punctum in unexpected places :slight_smile:


Just yesterday, I was walking in Manhattan’s Chinatown during a pouring rain, spotted a video screen on a sidewalk and thought "WALK NOW . . . WALK NOW . . . "


Definitely. Syd Mead is one of those artists who has a half-dozen very famous pieces that get repeated whenever there’s a story about Syd Mead or futuristic sci-fi art, but who has indeed done so much concept art over their lengthy career that the more you dig, the more you find. He was massively prolific and massively influential.

His own website has a terrific archive of his art (it’s a bit slow and overwhelmed at the moment, understandably).

Some of my favorite pieces of his were the hundreds of paintings he did in the early 60s for US Steel, which casually depicted everyday life in the future.


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