H.R. Giger

Hans Rudolf Giger, better known as H.R. Giger was born in Chur, Switzerland on February 5th 1940 and found artistic inspiration from Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dali. But it would be death and macabre that would come to define his artistic vision.

Giger moved to Zurich in 1962 to study architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts, graduating after four years and working for Andreas Christen as a furniture designer before leaving later to concentrate solely on his art. By 1968, he created his first alien creature prop for a short film entitled "Swissmade," as well as showing more paintings at galleries like Galerie Bischofsberger and Galerie Stummer. Giger often experienced night terrors which in turn inspired his signature biomechanical creatures which combined human and machine parts; further creating surreal, dark, nightmarish works which explored human psychology.

Draftsman, painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and designer H.R. Giger established his signature style during the 1970s: this led to a compelling yet unsettling oeuvre which included female figures, skulls, bones, weapons, tentacles, teeth and occult symbolism. Transitioning away from ink and oil paintings he started using airbrushes to produce large canvases and sculptures depicting dark surreal imagery never seen before. What emerged was an amalgamation between human bodies and machines, invoking a sense of disquietness coupled with sexual undertones which came to define his hallmark style.

In 1979, the artist gained international acclaim for his design of the Alien creature in Ridley Scott's science-fiction horror film. His work earned him two Oscar nominations, and he won the Academy Award for Visual Effects. Giger's intention in creating the alien was to fashion a being that was a blend of human and robotic qualities, one that could safeguard against all conceivable harmful elements, including weapons and radiation. He suggested that his desire for protection arose from a period of intense self-reflection during the late 1960s, where he was grappling with feelings of vulnerability. The Alien was unlike anything audiences had ever witnessed before. Giger's contributions to Alien were groundbreaking and revolutionized its genre, redefining both horror and science fiction by creating an otherworldly atmosphere which made the movie an instant classic. Since then, its design has been mimicked and referenced in multiple movies, television shows, and video games - establishing itself as a cultural icon that continues to inspire countless films, television shows, and video games alike.

Giger even managed to catch the eye of one of the 20th century's foremost artists: Salvador Dali. Giger noted his influence upon him via American painter Robert Venosa; Dali later introduced Giger's work to Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky. His prolific art was featured in many books, magazines, and exhibitions worldwide; rock stars also sought him out to design album covers; Giger designed them for Emerson Lake & Palmer (EL&P), Deborah Harry (Danzig), Dead Kennedys among many others. He was also honored by Seattle's Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame along with greats like David Bowie and JRR Tolkien.

Giger died on May 12, 2014, leaving behind an impressive and thought-provoking body of work that continues to have an impactful presence in film, art and popular culture. A testament to his lasting impression upon society, Giger has achieved iconic status among contemporary artists and popular culture as an innovator and influencer, becoming a role model around the globe. His influence can be found everywhere from museums to movies. The artist's work has experienced a remarkable resurgence in recent years, as an increasing number of galleries and museums worldwide have showcased his pieces, which had previously been less present from the contemporary art discourse. This renewed attention is bringing greater recognition to his body of work, elevating it to a more prominent position in the narrative of art history. They have helped solidify his place as one of the most influential and provocative artists of the latter half of the 20th century. An essential figure in cultural history and one whose works remain highly relevant to today's social, environmental, and political climate, is reflected in his Museum in Gruyeres Switzerland. Opening it up in 1998; to this day it contains most of his paintings and sculptures as well as his private art collection of artists like Salvador Dali.

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