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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