He was an artist you might not know.
But you’ve met his children…
It’s rare that a “new” iconic monster is born and becomes forever identifiable,—— no matter the variations, by generation after generation. So it was when George Romero created the ultimate “zombie” in his Night of the Living Dead in 1968. Zombie Apocalypse fans today may have never heard of George or seen the original “Night,” but the zombies they so love in fare like The Walking Dead owe their existence to Romero’s original vision.
In 1979, screenwriter Dan O’Bannon crafted a horror script by starting with neither a story idea nor a hero protagonist to follow.
He built his script around the monster itself, knowing only that he wanted the frights to come from more-and-more revealing glimpses of one of artist H.R. Giger’s mad creations. That monster, the alien in Alien (1979), has now become what everyone knows a space alien to be. Most movie aliens since Alien have been modified versions of Giger’s creation. Giger is the father of today’s aliens, as Romero is the father of today’s zombies.
Giger, who died May 12, was a nocturnal hermit painter, sculptor and set designer whose strength was translating nightmare visions into his bizarre works of art, many of which exuded a perverse sexuality. He is usually classified as a “surrealist,” but he called his art “biomechanics,” with its subjects often appearing to be hybrid living organic creatures having bodies melded with mechanical parts.
The 1970s generation will never get his album cover for Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery out of their heads. Punk rock’s Dead Kennedys’ album Frankenchrist featured Giger’s painting, Penis Landscape, resulting in an obscenity trial for lead songer Jello Biafra. Giger’s first published book of artworks was 1977’s Necronomicon, named in homage to horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
Giger was a touchstone artist for those in the 70s & 80s who sought to shake up the establishment with a walk on the wild side. Today he is thought of by many artists as being one of the exemplars of letting the mind go free—to explore either the light or the darkness—and be fearless in sharing what was found there in one’s art. His art might be considered “safe” today, but he was a real inspiration to many of today’s artists.
from today’s talented artists within the deviantART community:
Like all great visionaries, Giger has no truck with superfice; he plunges his hands into the raw stuff of our subconscious. Following where he's gone, we discover that we are not, after all, strangers here. As someone that not only created memorable monsters, but saw the beauty in them, there is a place in Midian for H.R. Giger.
— CliveBarker —
I instantly became a fan of Giger's work when I came across his 'Necronomicon' art book in the library, as a boy. To me, Giger will always be the 'King of Biomechanoids', elegant yet disturbing hybrid beings. Sci-Fi Horror is my favourite visual niche, so I've always been enamoured with his inimitable style. A true legend, what a legacy.
— conzpiracy —
To view Giger's work is to become swept into a new world of darkness and fascination, where nightmares become reality in a way that is both grotesque and intriguing. You can't look at Giger's work without wanting to know more, longing to explore a world that is nearly visceral with all your senses. For me personally, Giger appeals not only to my darker senses, but also to my intellect because his work drives me to reconsider what reality is. What genius must a man possess to take us on such journeys, to capture the most vivid of imaginations and to chill the spirit?
— Aeirmid —
A farewell to a man whose artistic imprint will never fade away. Thank you for setting the bar high, thank you for being a true inspiration, and with a lot of nostalgia, I wish to also thank you for being such a huge part of every kid's childhood, including my own. How often do Alien Monsters make the world a better place? Maybe never, unless H.R. Giger has had something to do with it. So thank you for your truly timeless artistic vision.
— nina-Y —
H. R. Giger's works were one of the first—if not even the very first—that I encountered after I became art-conscious years ago. The eerie world of his creations had an enormous impact on my imagination. Big enough to still feel an itch at the back of my head (or perhaps a hug on my face) from time to time, and big enough to still sense an echo of it in my own pictures, no matter how far I've got since then. One of my role models, next to Alan Lee, when it comes to utilizing the mind - how he went from paper to onscreen, but not by moulding himself for the movies, only by using his own, already existing view, without bending it to fit in. Seeing his designs transferred, moving around and breathing, his architecture filling the space—that is something quite inspiring to look up to, whether you like the views themselves or not.
— STelari —
Rest in peace you masterful dark overlord.
His nightmares make life worth living.
When I was about half my current age, H.R. Giger's works got me interested in a particular kind of art for the first time, before I even had a particular sense for art beyond 'Oh this looks cool'. His art seemed to be everywhere to the point I took it for granted. 'This is Giger, this is art, of course it's on posters and album covers and in movies and on t-shirts and inked on people's skin'; especially the Birth Machine was and is very popular where I live. People who barely have an interest in art are intrigued by his creations. H. R. Giger was synonym for surreal bio-mechanical art. Back then just the word "Giger" stood for that type of art first and then the person who created it. "Gigeresque" is a frequent word in surreal arts. Hans Rudolf's works feel like an unquestionably integral part of science-fiction and surreal art and undoubtedly for our modern art world as a whole.
— Thunderstatement —
H.R. Giger was the first artist whose name I could remember and style I could recognize. My first serious artistic attempts were inspired him and my desire to create art was born from Giger introducing me to other universes. His influence in my artwork is in the intricacies. His art is not clean and simple, it's made up for many lines and lots of details, a complete universe hidden in the smallest detail. There is always something new to discover in Giger's art. Today I'm very sad as I've lost one of the father's of my inspiration.
— Urus-28 —
H.R. Giger didn't just redefine a genre, he created one. His grotesquely beautiful bio-mechanical visions influenced art across all disciplines. Wether adapted for the screen or for the page his signature style could be identified immediately. His body of work should be a reminder to all artists to be original and explore beyond the boundaries of our imagination. I'm sad that we will no longer see new paintings from this legendary artist but I take comfort in knowing that his work will live on to inspire us all.
— BrianKesinger —
He was a great inspiration to me, nearly scaring me half to death as a child with his brilliant design in Alien. He took artistic risks, and had a signature style that would and will be hard to miss.
— DanLuVisiArt —
My first exposure to Giger's work was at the age of seven, thanks to a computer game called Dark Seed. Giger, for me, was the kind of artist whose work went beyond exploring conventional beauty and popular ideas- it was equal parts repulsive yet hauntingly familiar at the same time and it absolutely fueled my nightmares and imagination. He made me believe that truly great work was really not about what you drew but how you made people feel. A true icon.
— ukitakumuki —
Giger carved living, livid forms out of flesh and metal in his mind, and somehow managed to transfer those visions to flat surfaces. His paintings were sculptures. His production design-work has never been bettered, and has been endlessly imitated. Most of us can only dream of such a legacy.
Though his art somewhat resembled the restless, metamorphic paintings of Zdzislaw Beksinski, they were crafted it in monotone hues using an airbrush in unique and entirely original ways. Sometime a fresh-blood red would dominate, or a bilious green, but mostly these were shadow-land images, carved from smoke and bone.
He inspired me not only as an artist, but as a writer. It was a joy to be able to write and draw a story for his classic Xenomorph in my graphic novella 'Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven'. Perhaps, at last, he will rest easy. Such nightmares could only arise from a troubled soul - though it is our joy and trauma to continue to behold them...
— LiamSharp —
In space no one can hear you scream". But we heard a wail of sadness on Tuesday when we found out about the death of artist HR Giger. Giger found the perfect outlet for his work when he was hired to create the creature for Ridley Scott's space horror film Alien.
HR Giger changed the we look at horror in film the same as Technicolor changed the way we looked at film. It has never been the same since.
Giger's vision was unique. He was a man of extraordinary talent whose work is almost uncatagorisable in it's vision of other worlds and the creatures that inhabit them. His influence on the last few generations of artists is immeasurable. He will be missed. Godspeed HR Giger.
— DaveDorman —
The first movie I saw when I was a little boy was Alien. My father's mistake became a big obsession in my childhood. Why did the shape of the monster in that movie that scare me so much? Back in that time, there were only a few ways to watch a movie, in a theatre or maybe TV. It wasn't like now, where you can find images related to a movie everywhere. My only way to find it, was using my memory and drawing. So that is why started to draw, to remember the work of H.R. Giger that impressed me in Alien. When I grew up, I learned about him and his work and watched how his bio-mechanical vision became a true icon for a whole generation, my generation. Last year, I travelled to Switzerland and was able to visit Gruyeres and the Giger Museum and see his work with my own eyes. There was the original costume and head that he did for Alien. As an artist (and my inner child) it was like the end of a peregrination. Thanks H.R. Giger for the nightmares and wonders.
— GENZOMAN —
It wasn't aliens that drew me to Giger's work, but the surreal, bio-mechanical landscapes that seemed like the fever-dreamed manifestations of the music I'd discovered at exactly the same time. For me, Giger occupies the same brain space as Front 242, Leæther Strip, Skinny Puppy and the germinations of my own creative fumbling. There will always be a corner of my imagination that looks like his work, and tendrils of it will always color my own.
— Memnalar —
How does someone pay tribute to an artist who changed so many things? He added a new level to the look of sci-fi and horror. His bio-mechanical drawings, dark fancies, and mood took the dark side one step further. I believe he was someone you loved his art and followed that muse, wither light or dark he was committed. He work was layered with mystery, sensuality and danger. It questioned ideas in bold statements and he was not afraid to challenge you directly. From Dune to Alien, from sensual to the horrific, from the decorative to the ugly there was nothing he could not do. I will miss that there will be no new work. The body of art he leaves behind is amazing and compelling. He changed my visual outlook, opened many doorways to new ideas, and will be missed.
— MANSYC —
H.R. Giger has been an inspiration to me with the organic forms and fluid lines his artwork was primarily made of. His art evoked fascination for me. There was great beauty in the creepy yet erotic scenes he would depict. A mixture of repulsion with attraction. You can find his influence in so many artists, and immortalized in film and on the skin of people for generations to come.
— GillianIvy —
If Hans Rudolf Giger was ever afraid of the dark, it's evident that at some point he must've fallen deeply in love with it as well. Giger rendered nightmares that are ultimately, unspeakably beautiful. It may well require a mad man to see such ornate grandeur in even the most Stygian darkness; there's no question that it took a uniquely gifted artist of the highest caliber to allow for us to see it, too.
— SRaffa —
This man's work has affected many of us in a very profound way. If you would like to take the opportunity to convey how his work has affected you as an artist or your view of art; please share those thoughts with us in the comments.