Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Syd Mead

Whilst growing as an artist these past months on the Game Art degree at De Montfort I have come across many new interests considering the games and film industries. One of my biggest discoveries is an artist called Syd Mead. Though I was familiar with his work such as designs on the film Blade Runner and Aliens by Ridley Scott I didn’t pick up on the sheer talent this person has. I admire him most because unlike modern concept artists who work on digital software, all of Syd’s work is done on a canvas with Gouache paint; this means no ctrl + Z or any other help digital artists take for advantage today. He seems to also be focused primarily on the element of Design, using artistic ability to communicate his ideas; this consistent progression of science fiction design has coined him the title a ‘Visual Futurist’. 

Syd Mead began his journey as a vehicle designer in the 1960’s; personally I love the industrial design field which I briefly mentioned in my introduction on this blog, so anything involving clean lines, technological significance and vibrant designs are all components I really want to explore in my own work. His work is very unique and I think his stylisation is very attractive as he focuses highly on reflective surfaces, some may argue this element sub-consciously registers a futuristic environment. Observing his designs are like windows to another world, as he pushes his settings as far into reality as possible. I really want to do this myself because realism can bring greater identity to designs, it also enables to possibility of real functionality.    

Age 78 he still works for major companies today. His generation of artists are very different to mine because for one, they were taught HOW to draw, methods, techniques, the do’s and dont’s were very clear to these guys and this is what we miss today. In today’s academic system we are not taught HOW, it’s a ‘do it your own way’ type of teaching which can lead many people astray for years until they themselves get it, if they ever do that is. This is why things like perspective or autographic drawing seem to come across as some sort of evil method to do nothing but frustrate students!! I myself struggle with perspective and without getting it right, it’s hard to take any design seriously so this is why I admire those who absorbed it instinctively and of course, it’s very present in their work.

I think for anyone who is studying design, it’s a must to dissect from Syd’s work and try understanding his thought process. He has become somewhat of an icon in the conceptual design field because a lot of his work has withstood the test of time; I personally have purchased his book ‘Senutry II’ which is his latest release of collective artwork. Personally I don’t think it’s ever just a case of being at the right place at the right time to achieve success like this person has, a strong passion and constantly inspired state of mind must be achieved first. Otherwise everything becomes more ‘work’ and less ‘fun’ and for someone who has been working in the field of design for over four decades Syd is a perfect example. 

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