Syd Mead at the Apple store, Sydney 2010

An Afternoon with Visual Futurist, Syd Mead..

Howdy all..

Not a lot happening here on the painting front unfortunately. Busy looking for work and then working when I get it. My computer is on the way out as well, and holding together due the 2 foot fan cooling it down while I work! I’d kill for a new Intel Mac.. my old dual G5 is getting long in the tooth.

The AWESOME News –  Spending an entire afternoon with Syd Mead and his business partner, Roger Servick last Saturday!! Talk about a dream come true.. My friend Paul organised the Syd Mead night (18th March) here in Sydney at the Orpheum Theatre and so had a direct line to the master of futurist design himself. Syd and Roger had Saturday afternoon off so Paul and I offered to drive them around town.

Syd and Roger in 7-11. Sydney, March 2010

So our first stop was the Apple store on George St, Syd needed a power adapter for his Laptop. Half the nerds in the store were probably Syd Mead fans and had no idea he was walking past them! Mind you the Apple staff seemed to have no idea there was an elderly gentleman looking for service and also appeared ignorant of his presence.. tsk tsk Apple! Syd tells the young guy to make out the invoice to Oblagon Inc, and Paul says to him.. “Dude, you should really look that up.. like now!!”

Syd Mead at the Apple store. Sydney, March 2010

Next thing on the list was a decent coffee! The Sofitel Hotel they were staying in apparently weren’t up to the task so a stroll through the old Strand Arcade for coffee and cake was next order of business. In keeping with the theme of business, I suggested Syd get on with the paperwork and sign my copies of Oblagon, Sentury and a older book called The Guide to Fantasy Art Techniques of which he is included.

Syd Mead, the Strand Arcade. Sydney, March 2010

With the business side of things concluded we set out to achieve two objectives. Visit their old friends and find a Ford dealership – Syd and Roger wanted brochures of Australia’s Ford Falcon. The king of design was also very impressed by a new Maserati Grand Turisimo that happened to stop next to us in traffic, (who wouldn’t be!!) although he felt the logo on the rear pillar should be tilted slightly forward. So Pininfarina, pay attention! As you might have guessed, Syd talked about cars… a lot!

Syd chews the fat with the local Ford salesman. Sydney. March 2010
Syd and Roger. Sydney, March 2010

From there we headed to Watsons Bay for a wonderful late lunch at Gusto Bar and Kitchen. The food was excellent as was the great conversation. We had the place to ourselves for hours and enjoyed getting to know the man behind the Visual Futurist. It is always interesting to see beyond the ‘hero’ and meet the real person and Syd is just a regular guy at heart. A very sophisticated yet down to earth guy I might add, quick witted and always up for a laugh. His generosity is matched only by his talent and we all know how much of that he has! I cant look at Syd’s work now without acknowledging the quiet driving force behind Syd Mead Inc, that is Roger Servick, a major component to Syd’s success the many years they’ve worked together.

We finished the day off back at their hotel and snapped a few pictures. I also gave Syd one of my oil painted landscape studies as a memento of his stay and as a small thank you for all the years of inspiration he has given Paul and I.

L to R - Syd, Paul, Roger. Sydney, March 2010
L to R - Paul, Roger, Syd and myself. Sydney, March 2010
Paul and Syd at the Sofitel Hotel. Sydney, March 2010

It is a day I will remember for years to come and I feel extremely privileged to have met Syd and Roger. I also must thank my good friend Paul for making that initial connection.

Well that was my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one! 😉

6 comments

  1. Just finished watching the making of Aliens (in the wake of the Prometheus trailer) and was very attentive to Syd Mead’s discussion of concept designs for the film. He is a master. What a great opportunity. Very jealous of you Wayne 😉 Wishing you the best! – Domenico

    • Ankaris says:

      Hey Adam, how’s the tropics treating you?!

      No, he didn’t carry a sketchbook the whole time I was with him. Not to say that he doesn’t of course. Roger sketched a rough old car out on a napkin and I asked if he got free lessons from Syd. When he finished his sketch, I looked over at Syd and jokingly said, “You’re an awful teacher Syd!” He just laughed.. But sorry to say he didn’t pick up a pen or pencil all day except to sign my books, and the sharpie was mine!

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