THE MOVIE ART OF SYD MEAD: VISUAL FUTURIST
RELEASED 19 SEPTEMBER 256 pages | Hardback Authors Syd Mead, Craig Hodgetts Publisher Titan Books
In the world of movie concept art, two names stand head and shoulders above the rest: legendary Star Wars draughtsman Ralph McQuarrie, and Syd Mead, the man who helped Ridley Scott visualise the grimy future LA of Blade Runner. This comprehensive journey through Mead’s filmography celebrates his work in the best possible way: by showcasing lots of his art.
Whereas McQuarrie’s most famous work is unashamedly cinematic, Mead’s is more functional and grounded, stirring the cerebellum as much as the heart. While he’s capable of beautiful Chris Foss-like space scenes, more often his designs have a rigorous detail that makes you feel you’ve got the instructions you need to build the tech of Aliens’s Sulaco or Elysium’s space station.
Unsurprisingly, big hitters like Blade Runner get the most attention, but the designs for lesser-known films are often just as impressive – particularly satisfying is the chance to see Mead’s designs for a nevermade movie reboot of The Jetsons. Sadly, the explanatory text from co-author Craig Hodgetts is too dry and academic to really grab you – this would have been a much better read with more insight from Mead himself about his extraordinary thought processes.