Artist Profile: H.R. Giger


Luis Royo inaugurated the artist profile feature and he’s now followed up by Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor H.R. Giger.

Many who follow the heavy metal and the visual effects scenes know who H.R. Giger is. This artist who hails from Switzerland has been responsible for some of the most iconic images in science-fiction film history. Just looking at the samples of his work on this page one has to automatically notice how the designs look very similar to the alien creature in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror classic Alien.

Scott had seen some of Giger’s art pieces from his Necronomicon IV art collection and instantly knew that this Swiss artist was the one to design his alien and the spacecraft it was to be discovered in. Giger’s alien and environment design were so masterful that he won an Oscar for Best Visual Effect in 1980 for his work in Alien. This accolade got him noticed to head the art design for a failed Dune film adaptation by Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky.

It was to great disappointment that when David Lynch finally worked on Dune only the basic designs Giger had created for the production was used. As one watches Lynch’s Dune bits and pieces of Giger’s signature biomechanical design does pop out. This is especially true when the film switched over to focus on scenes dealing with the Harkonnen and Giedie Prime.

Giger would go on to do some art and set designs for such films as Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Alien 3 and Species. Even now he has been tasked by Ridley Scott to work on his latest film, Prometheus, and come up with new creature designs.

H.R. Giger’s style is one of nightmarish and surreal landscapes and figures which some have described as Satanic, perverse and disturbing. He combines biological anatomy with the mechanical to create works of art that have become favorite of certain heavy metal subgenres like industrial metal and death metal. While most of his works were created using airbrushing techniques to create monochromatic pieces he has, of late, switched over to using pastels, markers and inks.

One wonders what sort images goes through such an artists’ mind to come up with some of the artwork Giger has become famous (and in some circles, infamous) for. Maybe the fact that Giger suffers from night terrors and this has led to heavily influencing the images he creates. In the end, H.R. Giger’s work defnitely falls under the old adage of “beauty lie in the eyes of the beholder”.

Official H.R. Giger Website

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2 responses to “Artist Profile: H.R. Giger

  1. Aye, my sister got me a collection of stuff Giger made for my birthday once. Quite a lot of messed up images to behold, as I was about half my age at that time. He did have some satanic stuff, though. Goat headed mechano-demons upon a pentagram with naked chicks and spikes in places that would seem most uncomfortable, etc. Though there are a few brief images of artwork in the same style as Giger in Quake 3, so he can’t be *all* that bad :D

    • Yeah, the artbook collection I have of his are the Necronomicon series and the Erotomechanical ones. If most of the images he worked on for those series were from his night terrors then he definitely has some interesting stuff going on in his mind.

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