Creating a Legacy

Designing art that inspires


Jackson Schad

a person who studies the future and makes predictions about it based on current trends
The designer Syd Mead, who worked on movies like “Blade Runner” and “Alien” in his studio in 1986. Mead’s pieces were defined by ideas that were fantastical, but never seemed too far out of reach.

     On December 30th, 2019, the world lost one of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Even if you aren’t a person who considers themselves a “Futurist”, you’ve probably heard of the work of Sydney Mead, a prominent industrial designer. He was responsible for the designs of the vehicles and cities in movies such as Tron, Tron: Legacy, Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, Aliens, Short Circuit, and he was even a presentation leader for Disney Imagineers. With a start in the auto industry and architecture, Syd Mead’s work is loved by millions around the globe. 

      Even outside of science fiction, his work can be recognized. Though Syd is gone, one of his family members aims at keeping this legacy alive- and he’s walking next to you in the hallway. The great-nephew of Syd Mead and Nahs senior Nick Domagalski, has been an artist most of his life.  He says it’s something he’s taken with him along the way, and a tool he’s used to influence himself and create a positive outlook.

“Kentucky Derby”- Syd Mead, 1976

Q: How has art influenced your life?

Nick Domagalski: “It’s influenced my life in many different ways. When I was young, I didn’t think anything of it, but present-day I feel like it’s the best I’ve got. I look [at] art as a way to express my thoughts and my ideas. When I think of something cool, and I have [the] motivation, I’ll draw. Drawing in a sense though has connected me to people, and in turn, those people have supported me. If I never started drawing, there are people I never would’ve met. There are things I never would’ve even known about. There are experiences I would’ve never had. Art, in a way, has pretty much dominated my life…in a good way. I’m mostly self-taught. Again, when I was young, I drew because I thought it was cool. I thought it was neat to create something and take in the final result. Not something that was someone else’s, but something that was mine. My idea, and my vision. Today, I strive to always become better. I’m looking for new ways to improve. I look at past drawings and think “what could I have done better?” I build upon those ideas. I also use references from time to time. Not as often as I used to, but sometimes I’ll look at an example piece to figure out what I’m doing wrong.”

Not something that was someone else’s, but something that was mine. My idea, and my vision.”

— Nicholas Domagalski

      Nick’s connection with his work is something that I find really empowering- his use of a creative outlet to express his ideas in a passionate and forward-thinking way allows him to be the person he knows he’s meant to be, and that is something that we should learn from. He has prints from his uncle hanging in his home, a display to the footprint he left.

Q: Has Syd Mead inspired you?

N: “Yeah, definitely! Syd inspired a couple of my works of art. He actually piqued my interest into graphic design, and I’ve considered following in his footsteps. It’s a tough decision, but it’s an option.”

An early concept sketch drawn by Mead for the movie TRON

I was curious about the legacy Nick wanted to leave. Of course, there’s no way to be who his uncle was- and that’s okay. The legacy we leave is unique to all of us.  When I asked him about this, I find it admirable that he doesn’t aim to be “the next Syd Mead”. He aims to be Nicholas Domagalksi- a person capable of carving their own path.

Q: How will you leave a personal legacy?

N: ”I’m just going to have to see where the road takes me. A big part [of] leaving a legacy is having connections to the right people. If not, you could inspire thousands. That’s what I want to do. One of my ultimate goals in life is to create something that inspires hundreds, maybe thousands. Maybe it’s a give-back thing? I’ve felt so inspired by the world around me, I want to become a part of that. Inspire future people in the same boat I am, striving to become something greater. It’s a competitive market, but I’ve already got a few ideas in mind. I don’t wanna give away too much, just in case I ever make these ideas real. I want to make something beautiful, something I’m proud of.”