At 77 years old, Syd Mead may still be best known for having worked on the films Blade Runner and TRON, but such is the artist’s clockwork consistency that a glance at his life’s work will reveal heaps of equally inspiring art.
Perhaps it was while cutting his teeth as a car designer for Ford in the 1950s that he acquired his momentous work ethic. What’s for sure is that from those early days of reinventing the 59’ Caddy, to his more recent work designing the mask maker in Mission Impossible 3, the artwork has come thick and fast and remained steadily great.
A loosely affiliated companion piece to 2001’s Sentury, the second instalment covers the years 2001 to 2010, creating a visual order to the art. Although they’re not the only art books that he’s released, Syd’s clearly put a lot of time and planning into this series, with each page filled with insights on each project. At 12x12 inches, he gets away with this word-heavy approach without cramping the images. Although the prose is a little expansive in places, when he’s talking us through his new vehicle designs, or detailing his technique, it’s a fascinating read.
There are also several nice personal touches in the book. It opens with a personal biography of the past decade, and the dedications to the people that have supported and inspired the man through his career are charming. Essentially, the art is fantastic and both immediately recognisable as Syd’s yet buzzing with totally new and fresh concepts and designs.
Whether it’s a restaurant design, poster illustration or the ever-popular film concept art, (here including The Core, The Sound of Thunder and MI 3), each image rewards several closer looks, proving that there’s plenty more life in this ‘visual futurist’ yet.4/5