Blade Runner and Star Trek: The Motion Picture Concept Artist Syd Mead Passes Away At The Age Of 86

Syd Mead, concept artist and “visual futurist” has passed away at the age of eighty-six. His design contributions are well known to fans of sci-fi as his work includes movies such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, and Aliens.

The news of his passing was shared by Autoline’s John McElroy on Facebook yesterday.

McElroy wrote of Syd’s passing: “He was one of the greatest designers and futurists of of our times. Syd Mead passed away this morning. His work and influence will outlive him forever.”

Many honored and remembered Syd on Twitter. Tesla founder Elon Musk wrote, “Rest in peace Syd Mead. Your art will endure.”

Halo, Fortnite, and Marvel Production designer Davison Carvalho also spoke about Syd’s passing. He wrote, “His art and design mind influenced us all, not only other artists but the entertainment industry artistic essence; He changed practices and quality bar forever for better.”

Cartoon Brew also paid tribute to Syd Mead. They noted that his work spanned decades from Blade Runner to Tomorrowland and Elysium.

Charles de Lauzirika, known for his work on Twin Peaks, many Alien films, Transformers, and as a field producer for DC’s Doom Patrol and Stargirl shared some photos of Syd while working on Blade Runner decades ago back in November.

He credits the futurist for setting “the tone and style” for Blade Runner’s iconic style.

Founder of Odd Tales Games, Tim Soret, also paid tribute to Syd. He wrote, “Without him, the visual language of science fiction wouldn’t have been the same. Here, his vision for the streets of Blade Runner.”

Syd wasn’t only a futurist well known for his work in the west. His work also includes official design work for Gundam as well as being tapped for a live-action version of the popular anime that never materialized.

Last month, the Art Director’s Guild announced that they were going to honor Syd Mead with their William Cameron Menzies Award. ADG President Nelson Coates said of the famed designer:

“Syd Mead has played a pivotal role in shaping cinema with his unique ability to visualize the future. His visions and illustrations of future technological worlds remain as a testament to his vast imagination. Mead is one of the most influential concept artists and industrial designers of our time,”

The Art Director’s Guild Awards is set to be held February 1st, so the director will receive his award posthumously.

What movies can you think of that Syd has worked that sticks out in your mind? For me, his work in Aliens and Bladerunner will always come to mind, but most importantly the way Syd’s artistic touch is influencing the next generation of futurists, such as Elon Musk, shows that his work will continue to reverberate.


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