The Visual Effects Society named acclaimed visual futurist and conceptual artist Syd Mead as the next recipient of its Visionary Award in recognition of his enormous contributions to visual arts and filmed entertainment. The award will be presented at the 14th Annual VES Awards on February 2, 2016 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The VES Visionary Award, bestowed by the VES Board of Directors, recognizes an individual who has uniquely and consistently employed the art and science of visual effects to foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work. VES will honor Mead, a prolific and innovative artist, for his unique ability to create unforgettable images and advance storytelling through his futuristic design aesthetic.
Syd Mead’s storied career spans almost six decades, and began as he created characters and backgrounds for animated cinema intermission trailers just out of high school. After serving in the U.S. Army and receiving his education at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, Mead was recruited by Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Studio. After Ford, he took on high-profile design assignments for blue chip companies including U.S. Steel, Philips Electronics and Intercontinental Hotels.
In 1979, Mead’s projects expanded to designing for Hollywood as he began to work with most major studios. His cinema entrée was legendary, starting with the creation of the V’ger entity for STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, followed by two cult classics - BLADE RUNNER and TRON. Mead’s designs for robots, vehicles and other-worldly environments have also been featured in films including 2010, SHORT CIRCUIT, ALIENS, TIME COP, JOHNNY MNEMONIC, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III and ELYSIUM. With transportation design as his first love, Mead seldom misses an opportunity to provide his unique blend of futurism and believability to designing vehicles – from concept cars, cruise ships and hypervans to interplanetary cinematic spacecrafts that transport audiences to new worlds.
In the 1980’s, Mead established close working relationships with a number of major Japanese companies including Sony, Minolta, Dentsu, Dyflex, Tiger, Seibu, Mitsukoshi, Bandai, NHK and Honda as well as contributing to Japanese film projects, YAMATO 2520 and SOLAR CRISIS. In the 1990s, he supplied designs for all eight robot characters in the TURN A GUNDAM mobile suit series and TV show.
Extensive collections of Mead’s work have been exhibited worldwide, drawing record crowds. In 1993, a digital gallery of his art became one of the first CD ROMs released in Japan and in 2004 he cooperated with the Gnomon School of Visual Effects to produce a 4-volume, “How To” DVD series entitled, TECHNIQUES OF SYD MEAD, which continues to be sought after by designers around the world. A documentary of his career, VISUAL FUTURIST, was released in 2007 and Mead continues an active schedule of one-man shows and presentations.
“Syd is truly a defining creative force in the world of visual arts,” said Mike Chambers, VES Board Chair. “He has a rare ability to create fiercely inventive images, both iconic and sublime, and he has contributed to some of our most unforgettable cinematic experiences. Syd’s legendary contributions to the field of design, and the inspiration he has provided for generations of visual effects artists is immense, and we are very proud to honor this master artist and futurist with the VES Visionary Award.”
"I am greatly honored to receive this Visionary Award,” said Syd Mead. “It is both humbling and exhilarating to receive this award from the VES community, 3OOO-plus members who, with their exquisite grasp of imagination and technique, continuously blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy.”
Previous winners of the VES Visionary Award have been Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee, Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams.