In memoriam: artist HR Giger

News Ryan Lambie 13 May 2014 - 10:01

We're sad to report that the Swiss artist HR Giger, creator of the Alien, has died at the age of 74.

In 1979, the cinema-going public reeled at the arrival of Alien. Its title creature, although conceived on paper by writers Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, was brought vividly to life by the Swiss artist Hans Ruedi Giger.

For many, Alien was their first introduction to Giger's nightmarish and surreal art. During the 70s and 80s, he was extraordinarily prolific, producing not just the Alien design, its accompanying eggs, the celebrated Space Jockey, his extra-terrestrial craft and planet, but also a huge range of other sculptures, illustrations and paintings.

Giger's must familiar work was achieved with an airbrush, and it was his 1977 book of paintings, entitled Necronomicon, which brought the artist to the world's attention, and in particular the creators of Alien. When director Ridley Scott set eyes on painting named Necronom IV, with its now familiar lithe alien creature viewed in profile, he'd found the creature he was looking for. Giger's largely monochrome, often disturbing images were inspired by the writer HP Lovecraft and the occult, but also his own nightmares.

Giger continued to work sporadically in the movies through the rest of his career, on both the Alien franchise and the 1995 film, Species, as well as providing smaller pieces of work for Poltergeist II, Future-Kill (specifically, its poster) and the Japanese horror, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis. The artist's final screen credit would be Prometheus, which would reunite him with director Ridley Scott - albeit briefly - one final time.

Although he'll long be associated with his work in Alien, Giger's biomechanoid art style has inspired, and is sure to continue to inspire, other artists and filmmakers for decades to come.

Giger sadly passed away on May the 12th at the age of 74. The artist has gone, but his astonishing body of work, mined from the darkest reaches of his subconscious, will always remain.

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I think it's safe to say that just about every person who reads this website, or who loves the genre, owes a huge debt of thanks to this outstanding talented artist.

Hear hear. Personally I've spent countless hours poring over his remarkable outwork and appreciating the truly outstanding level of detail he put in. Such a sad loss.

RIP fine artist - you will be sorely missed. Have seen a few interviews - he was a really nice, sensitive guy.

Well said Sir/Madam. Nobody else like him.

rip HR Giger!
total legend

I can count on the fingers of one hand the artists whose work leaves me completely awestruck at the sheer creative wonder of it - Giger is one of these.
R.I.P. you brilliant, mad bastard.

RIP. He also created some of my favourite heavy metal bands album artworks - Celtic Frost, Triptykon, Danzig, Carcass to name a few...

His work on the Darkseed game gave me nightmares for weeks. A proud legacy has been left for the world to enjoy...

And don't forget his magnificent cover for Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" LP.

Damn, that's some awful news to end your lunch break on. RIP.

RIP dude.

Arguably the most stunning artist alive until recently. What a loss.

Sad news. Giger was a true artist of staggering imagination. His work was captivating and original and fascinatingly strange. He put to shame other so called "modern artists" with his amazing talent.

Gutted, what a visionary

Hopefully he finally got rid of his nightmares and gets to rest in peace.

i remember in high school HR Giger (along with MC Escher) were my favourite artists and inspired a great deal of my work. my teacher questioned why i couldnt like something 'nice' haha! if we all liked and did the same thing, art wouldnt be personal!

There was no one like Giger. I remember looking at Heavy Metal magazine and seeing his artwork for the first time, and seeing Alien, and was truly astonished at his one of a kind style. There has never been a more influential artist for sci-fi save Syd Mead. Fun fact: he designed the guitar for the legendary Celtic Frost's frontman.

RIP Giger.

As I said in my comment above, he also designed CF's frontman's guitar.

If the words original and maverick both have a definition then Giger's name should be next to both. I've loved his artwork ever since I came across his sleeve art for the Celtic Frost album To Mega Therion. Dangerous, subversive, and controversial. He designed some of the best album art ever (Danzig, ELP, Blondie), and of course the infamous poster insert from the Dead Kennedys Frankenchrist. He will always be remembered for Alien. No-one has ever bettered his vision and design. So much so that Paisley Abbey replaced one of its gargoyles to resemble the xenomorph. A truly sad day.

His concept art for Jodorowsky's failed Dune attempt alone are visually and creatively inspiring, and his influence can still be felt today in the farthest reaches of the cultural world. RIP to an inspiration and creative genius.

There are very few in this world to whom the term "truly original genius" can be applied.
Han Ruedi Giger is, without doubt, one of those very few
Thanks for the nightmares - you'll be sorely missed

Not to be a pooper, but how is that true exactly?

He did Alien and a few other notable and memorable works, but otherwise his influence is very limited.

Someone like Moebius and even Yoshitaka Amano were more influential, I'd argue.

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