The art of H.R Giger

You’ve probably seen many of his works but didn’t know that he’s responsible for them. You probably know him as the creator of Alien or the man responsible for the cover art of Celtic Frost’s ‘To Mega Therion’ Lp. He’s the one and only H.R Giger.

H.R. Giger is recognized as one of the world’s foremost artists of Fantastic Realism. Born in 1940 to a chemist’s family in Chur, Switzerland, he moved in 1962 to Zurich, where he studied architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts. By 1964 he was producing his first artworks, mostly ink drawings and oil paintings, resulting in his first solo exhibition in 1966, followed by the publication and world-wide distribution of his first poster edition in 1969. Shortly after, he discovered the airbrush and, along with it, his own unique freehand painting style, leading to the creation of many of his most well known works, the surrealistic Biomechanical dreamscapes, which formed the cornerstone of his fame. To date, more than 20 books have been published about Giger’s art.

Giger’s most famous book, Necronomicon, published in 1977, served as the visual inspiration for director Ridley Scott’s film Alien, Giger’s first high-profile film assignment, which earned him the 1980 Oscar for the Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his designs of the film’s title character, including all the stages of its lifecycle, plus the film’s extraterrestrial environments. Giger’s other well-known film work includes his designs for Poltergeist II, Alien3 and Species, as well as the legendary unmade film, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune.

On 12 May 2014, Giger died in a hospital in Zürich after having suffered injuries in a fall.

Music

H.R. Giger is known for working with many rock and metal artists. Find below some work of his. Here are perhaps some of the best album covers he has created:

Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (inside cover – 1973)

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Emerson Lake and Palmer at Giger’s Studio in Zurich, 1973 – Foto: Bruno Torricelli

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Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion

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Carcass – Heartwork

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Danzig – III How the Gods Kill

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Triptykon – Melana Chasmata

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Atrocity – Hallucinations

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He has also designed Korn’s mic stand. Who knew that Jonathan Davis was a great admirer of his work?

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H.R Giger became known to me through his work in cinema and his exquisite album covers. But the truth is he’s one versatile artist. Apart from a painter and a film director he was also a sculptor and a set designer.

Furniture

Or even a furniture designer:

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H.R.Giger is regarded to be a highly influential artist. I think the world of horror and science fiction owes him a lot. You can admire his work at the H.R Giger museum. On June 20, 1998, the Museum H.R Giger opened its doors in the medieval Château St. Germain in the 400 year old historic, walled city of Gruyères, Switzerland. As the permanent home to many of Giger’s key , the museum houses the largest and most impressive collection of the artist’s paintings and sculptures, furniture and film designs, dating from the early 1960’s till the present day.

Giger Bars

Would you drink your beer here? Damn these bars are creepy.

Chur, Switzerland

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Gruyeres, Switzerland

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Cinema

Giger created some of the most terrifying, dark & enigmatic creatures for the big screen. His ability of visualizing, expressing & realizing the designs of all these terrors was exceptional & heavily influential. Their nature was the result of a violent but harmonic blend of humanoid & machine, and Giger brought them to life for a one & sole reason; to haunt our dreams & redefine new meanings for the words “futility“, “obscurity” & “malevolence“. Let’s check some of his most well-known “pets” along the movies in which they appeared in chronological order.

Alien (1979)

You knew that, didn’t you? Yes, H.R. Giger is officially the biological dad of Alien, the extraterrestrial creature that appears in the “Alien” franchise. The design of the Alien was based on Giger’s 1976’s lithography Necronom IV painting.

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They see me posin’, they hatin’

Giger initially designed our 2-mouthed fellow in his adult & egg & chest-burster forms, but ultimately designed the alien planetoid LV-426 and the Space Jockey alien vessel.

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Ostrich egg, right?

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Good morning everyone!

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Not so excited about meeting the inhabitants of LV-426, what about you?

 

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I am sure that the crew of that particular spaceship will welcome us on board!

Due to his Alien design and Carlo Rambaldi’s mechanical implementation of the Alien head that was assembled from 900 moving parts, both of them won 1980’s Academy Award for Visual Effects.

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Giger designed the “Great Beast” form of Henry Kane, the main antagonist of the series, who after his death, he transformed in the monstrocity known as the “Great Beast“, hungry for more souls to possess. Giger worked remotely for that project due to his unwillingness to leave Zurich at that time & Cornelius De Fries was hired to represent Giger at the studio during production. The artist was disappointed from the final result, commenting that his lack of presence was the reason for the disappointing results regarding the design.

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Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988)

The film is a tokusatsu historical dark fantasy/science fiction epic film directed by Akio Jissoji, produced by “Exe” studios and distributed by Toho Studios. Giger’s input was the design of gohō dōji, guardian spirits from Buddhist folklore

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Will you need a hand, master?

Species (1995)

Another science fiction horror thriller film, directed by Roger Donaldson and written by Dennis Feldman. In the film, a team of scientists managed to merge extraterrestrial DNA with human DNA forming Sil, an organism that resembles a human female except that she had tones of supernatural abilities. Sil’s body is able to develop quite fast (12 years old in 3 months), her body possesses regenerative abilities, she has supernatural strength & exceptionally intelligent. Quite a badass in my opinion. The combination of these superpowers really made the task of tracking & eliminating Sil quite difficult. Giger is responsible for the beauty’s design. He worked remotely in order to take care of his dying mother from Switzerland & communicating his sketches & airbrush paintings through fax. After seeing some final design & movie plot similarities with Alien was unhappy with the final result.

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 What a creature, such erotic elegance and powerful lethality

 

Trivia

  • Giger worked in the designs for the adaptation of the Frank Herbert Dune (1965) novel, but later the Dune movie was produced in an adaptation of David Lynch instead.
  • During the production of Batman Forever, Giger provided his version of the batmobile but it was rejected due to his malevolent & obscure style.

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Giger’s version of Batmobile, or should i say Satanmobile 666?

  • In Prometheus, H.R Giger was credited for the original designs of “The Derelict” & “Space Jockey” spaceships & the “Temple”.

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Let’s leave this place…Now….

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