H.R. Giger was an influential Swiss painter, sculptor, set designer and concept designer. Giger is most known for his designs for the film Aliens, and its successors, as well as working on a number of less well known film projects. He also did work used on numerous album covers and has left his mark on pop culture and a generation of concept artists, tattoo artists, illustrators, comics artists and many others.
H.R. Giger died yesterday, May 12, 2014, at the age of 74.
Giger developed a style that incorporated biological and mechanical elements, often repeated and blending one into the other, which he cultured for shock and biological horror effect, particularly in his designs for films.
Giger worked primarily in airbrush, painting at a relatively large scale in acrylic (images above, bottom), but also worked in drawing materials and lithography (above, second from the bottom).
His work was often monochromatic, or nearly so, though the reproductions on the web are often of poor quality, and it’s difficult to tell how much they have been altered from their original appearance.
Some of his work is more abstract exploration of repeated form, other pieces are more representational. Some is overtly sexual, and much is deliberately grotesque and disturbing in nature.
Giger’s official site at hrgiger.com is down at the moment; it doesn’t look temporary. There is a semi-official site at giger.com (warning: plays sounds as you enter pages), that has a gallery of images under the “Biomechanoids”, “Fine Art’ and “Posters” links.
You can find both original art and prints for sale on Morpheus Gallery. For more, we must turn to unofficial galleries on the web (see my listings, below).
There is a Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland, but the website is terrible and not terribly informative.
You will see Giger referred to as a “Surrealist”, this is inaccurate (even if the artist himself used the term). I tend to be a bit strict about terms like this, and Surrealism refers to an actual philosophy by which art is created, as opposed to the more generalized term, “surrealistic”, meaning art that looks in some way like Surrealist art.
Giger was certainly influenced by the Surrealist painters, however, as well as many other fantastical artists in history, like Bosch, Bruegel, van Eyck, and Arnold Böcklin, whose “Isle of the Dead” was the subject of a homage by Giger (above, third from the bottom).
For more, see my previous post on H.R. Giger.
[Note: many of the images on the linked sites are NSFW and not suitable for children.]