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  • Mead’s last two films were the Disney film “Tomorrowland” (2015), which starred George Clooney, and “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) - the sequel to the original “Blade Runner.”

    Mead’s last two films were the Disney film “Tomorrowland” (2015), which starred George Clooney, and “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) - the sequel to the original “Blade Runner.” | Photo: EFE

Published 31 December 2019

“Visual Futurist” was the term Mead used to define his career in the film industry.

Syd Mead, the influential conceptual artist who created images of the future for films such as “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Aliens” (1986), died on Monday morning in Pasadena, California, at the age of 86.

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Mead died after three years battling lymphoma cancer, his husband Roger Servick told specialist publication The Hollywood Reporter.

Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1933, the visionary illustrator and conceptual artist made his mark on cinematic history by supporting directors such as Ridley Scott in bringing to life on the big screen fantasies of what the future might look like, such as in the dystopian classic “Blade Runner,” which showed a bleak and spectral portrait of Los Angeles.

His designs and artwork were also key in other outstanding science fiction films such as “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979), “TRON” (1982), “Timecop” (1994), “Mission to Mars” (2000) and “Elysium” (2013).

While he was known to the general public for his involvement in films, Mead also served for three years in the United States army, and then after attending art school, began his career as an industrial designer for companies such as Ford.

The influence of his visionary conceptual art, which has been praised for its accuracy in predicting where the future of technology and society is heading, can be seen in exhibitions such as “Future Cities,” currently open in Berlin, Germany.

The exhibition, which opened in November and will run through mid-January, illustrates how Mead’s work has inspired many architects, designers, inventors and urban planners.

Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk said this month that one of Tesla’s most recent creations, the Cybertruck electric pickup truck, is inspired by the vehicles driven by Harrison Ford in “Blade Runner.”

The artist died just a few weeks before he was to be honored at the annual Art Directors Guild Awards, where he was to be presented with the William Cameron Menzies Award on Feb. 1 in Los Angeles.

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