Without the visionary concept art and design work of artist Syd Mead, the worlds of TRON and Blade Runner might have looked very different. The streamlined, neon-splashed style of this accomplished illustrator has been emulated by generations of new artists, filmmakers and writers. From the TRON lightcycles and logo to the levitating Spinner vehicles in Blade Runner and the V'Ger villain in Star Trek: The Motion Pitcure, Mead's fertile mind has produced a fantastical array of sleek spacecraft, vehicles, robots and Retro-Deco cityscapes.
Mead began his career back in the late '50s at Ford Motor Company's Advanced Styling Studio before being enticed to Hollywood in the '70s.
Our friends at Collider caught up with Mead on the red carpet at the 14th annual Visual Effects Society Awards on Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where he was honored with a special Vision Award for lifetime achievement, and grabbed some great stuff on his storied career in sci-fi and humorous thoughts about Ridley Scott's upcoming Blade Runner sequel.
“Syd is truly a defining creative force in the world of visual arts,” said Mike Chambers, VES board chair. “He has a rare ability to create fiercely inventive images, both iconic and sublime, and he has contributed to some of our most unforgettable cinematic experiences. Syd’s legendary contributions to the field of design, and the inspiration he has provided for generations of visual effects artists is immense.”
Have a listen to this illuminating interview and hear Mead tell Collider exactly what he thinks saved Blade Runner from falling into obscurity.