Hooniverse Modern Art Monday – The Art of Visual Futurist Syd Mead

Syd Mead is one of those visionaries that has created many distinct visions of the future over the course of his career. While there are a number of artists that try and illustrate what the future may look like, only Mead has been able to string together superb draftsmanship, plausibility, artistry, and an engineering prowess to create such comprehensive and enthralling conceptions of the worlds of tomorrow. Mead’s iconic visions have transformed movies like Blade Runner and Tron into cult classics, and has inspired several generations of artists and engineers to be ambitious when it comes to dreaming.

He has been called extraordinary in his visual interpretations of a future that is just out of reach for most of us. His illustrations have been the inspiration for quite a few of us, trying to realize Mead’s vision of the future into reality. Many of the images you see in the gallery below are provocative, yet stunningly beautiful at the same time.

When you have the time, take a look at Syd Mead’s body of work. There is a rather in-depth interview over at Futureclaw, which is a really great place to start your own immersion into the mind of Mead. Scrubbles has a great collection of Illustrations from Mead’s book, Sentinel, that was first published in 1979. Fastcodesign has link to a wonderful short video in which Mead discusses his work on Blade Runner (with more than a few of his paintings used as props in the background). And of course, you can always go to Syd Mead’s own website here.

The question is this: Were you ever inspired by the work of Syd Mead, or were you ever aware of this iconic visual futurist? I’m sure you all have a story to tell…..
Image Sources: Miscellaneous-Pics Blogspot, Miscellaneous-Pics Blogspot, Miscellaneous-Pics Blogspot, Miscellaneous-Pics Blogspot, Miscellaneous-Pics Blogspot, sydmead.com, sydmead.com, Scribbles.net.

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  1. citroen67 Avatar

    The Sentinel 400 Limo is supposed to look like a car of the future…turns out it looks like something that Citroen should have made back in the early 70's. 🙂
    Cool stuff, though. Being one who occasionally does automotive realism renderings, I can surely appreciate the man-hours involved in the creation of these beauties.

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    That is a big fucking cat-thing! So realistic!

  3. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    I picture the interior of the Sentinel 400 having many ashtrays.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Also lots of cat hair.

  4. tonyola Avatar

    Mead also created V-ger for the first "Star Trek" movie. The re-released, updated version of the movie shows V-ger in its entirety.
    <img src="http://www.startrekdb.se/skepp/bilder/vger_side.jpg&quot; width=600>

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    How to make a Sentinel 400:
    1) Combine an A-M Lagonda, a Zimmer Golden Spirit and a '72 Sedan de Ville together in a large bowl.
    2) Whip thoroughly.
    3) Half-bake.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      But Mead drew the Sentinel way back in 1961.

  6. Lotte Avatar

    I find this sort of stuff very intriguing, although I have to say I find myself a bit naiive at times. I see this and went: "Wow, this is the future! There should be more of this kind of forward-looking attitude!" But then again, this is one man's vision of the future; is his vision effective as a catalyst for inspiring other people to look into the future with bright blue eyes? I am intrigued by stuff like Ford's Galaxy with its afterburner tailights styled after aircraft, or the elusive Honda Prelude, whose name forshadowed "the wonderful things to come" (which, by the looks of things, something came up and now they don't do that anymore)
    Does imagining a bright future bring a bright future?

  7. smokyburnout Avatar

    <img src="http://www.imperialclub.com/Yr/1972/Mead/Side.JPG"&gt;
    Weird that someone with such a vision of the future drives a 1972 Imperial LeBaron. Or maybe it makes perfect sense.
    IMG from ImperialClub

  8. Flipper Avatar

    I bought the Hot Wheels

  9. JayP Avatar

    Mead also designed/rendered the 2003 HotWheels poster.
    I had a chance to see him at a SIGGRAPH off-site party where he spent time talking about TRON and Blade Runner among other things… It was terrific.

  10. salguod Avatar

    Love Syd Mead. Those first 2 images are paintings, I believe, in gouache. Gouache was the preferred medium in the 60's and 70's for architectural renderings. It has an unmistakable quality about it with bold, rich yet chalky colors. I love it and wish I could do it, but I cannot.
    In Industrial Design school I took a class in gouache painting from a brilliant designer who, although didn't posses Mead's design vision, was phenomenal with a brush. During a 45 minute demo, he'd create an illustration so effortlessly, you thought that you could the same right then and there. I learned otherwise rather quickly.
    Syd Mead possesses that painting skill and more, combined with an amazing, visionary design style and an eye for perspective and composition.

  11. guest Avatar

    I remember the Chrysler Imperial when they were new in 1972, I still think they look regal, and they were huge cars.