The Movie Art of Syd Mead

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A concept drawing by Syd Mead of a futuristic street scene for "Blade Runner" (1982)

Syd Mead envisioned the Spinner flying police cars in Blade Runner, the Light Cycles in Tron and the U.S.S. Sulaco in Aliens. His fingerprints are also on the built universes these vehicles inhabit.

Now he and architect Craig Hodgetts have published a new book The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist and together they talk to DnA about Mead's talent for creating a "plausible reality" in movie worlds, as well as what's around the corner in lived reality: avatars taking our meetings for us; cities reshaped by self-driving cars and super-powerful graphene to hold up buildings.

Hodgetts, who will chat with the 84-year-old Mead at SCI-Arc Tuesday night, tells DnA that Mead has a unique ability to "look into the crystal ball and not create a fantasy image, but create a future image and a future reality, which is very firmly based on our physical laws and on the environment that we exist in now."

He does this through "just hypnotic and extremely visceral images" made "with the simplest of tools: a colored pencil and a piece of paper."