Syd Mead Legendary Visionary Artist – Modern Day Leonardo
On location, Burbank CA
Graduated with distinction from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California in 1959. He was immediately recruited by the Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Studio under the management of Elwood Engle which he left after 2 years in order to accept a variety of assignments travelling the world to illustrate books, catalogues and product designs for large corporate entities including United States Steel, Celanese, Allis Chalmers and Phillips Electronics.
In the 1970’s and 80’s he was recruited by several firms to create interior and exterior architectural renderings for Intercontinental Hotels, 3D International, Harwood Taylor & Associates, Don Ghia, and Gresham & Smith. In 2010 the New York firm of Philip Koether Architects tapped Syd to design the interior of the popular restaurant Bar Basque in Manhattan.
In 1979, the motion picture industry recognized his unique ability to “visualize” the future, His work can be seen in feature films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, TRON, 2010, Short Circuit, Aliens, Time Cop, Johnny Mnemonic, and most recently, “Mission Impossible-3” starring Tom Cruise for director J.J. Abrams.
Syd has also done concept and design work for a number of major Japanese clients, including; Sony, Minolta, Dentsu, Dyflex, Tiger, Seibu, Mitsukoshi, Bandai, NHK and Honda as well as contributing to two Japanese film projects, He also created designs for two Japanese toy icons, “The New Yamato” and all eight robot characters in the new Turn-A Gundam mobile suite series which are also seen as characters in Television shows.
With transportation design as his first love, Syd seldom misses an opportunity to provide his unique blend of futurism and believability to those projects consisting of a vehicle that travels from “A” to ‘B”. Whether it be designing solar powered unicycles, show cars, luxury yachts, interiors of private 747’s, or interplanetary vehicles, each receives the same attention to detail and is part of a perfectly designed scenario. This scenario approach has become a Syd Mead trademark and can be seen in everything from concept cars for Ford Motor Company to futuristic “Hypervans”. This has earned him the title of “Visual Futurist” by his peers and the industry.
Syd Mead continues an active schedule of one-man shows. Beginning in Germany in 1973, his work has since been exhibited in Japan, Italy, California, and Spain. In 1983 he was the guest speaker to the design staff at Chrysler Corporation. The resulting presentation was a resounding success and has since been expanded and enhanced with computer generated imagery specifically assembled at the requests of such clients as Disney, Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue, Pratt University, and the Society of Illustrators. In March of 2010, Syd completed a four-city tour in Australia to capacity audiences at each venue.
Syd Mead has published 9 books and a set of instructional DVD’s “Techniques of Syd Mead” which continues to be sought after by designers around the world.
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Mead attributes success in his astonishing range of creative activities to the premise that imagination — the idea, supersedes technique. “There are more people in the world who make things than there are people who think of things to make.” — Syd Mead
ASK THE ARTIST NOW: If you could ask this artist about his technique, his talent, what he feels is the next step in his career, or anything at all, what would it be? Share your questions and comments to this amazing artist by posting below and they will be shared with the artist. The artist will answer them onsite at CTNx2012 and the answers will be posted here.