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H.R. Giger

The man behind the monster, Alien.

February 5, 1940

H.R. Giger’s dark yet alluring depictions of biomechanical surrealism have terrified, intrigued, and inspired a generation of viewers. His otherworldly creations and unique style have made him one of the most recognizable science fiction artists in modern popular culture.

Born in Chur, Switzerland, Hans Rudolf Giger began his artistic career studying architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich. Fascinated at a young age by all things macabre, his artwork showcases his interest in both human anatomy and machinery. Working as a designer, painter, and sculptor, Giger has had more than twenty books published of his artwork. Perhaps best known among these is Necronomicon (1977). This book convinced director Ridley Scott to entrust Giger with the creature design for his award-winning 1978 film Alien. Adding to its realism, Giger planned out the entire life cycle of the parasitic and adaptable creature featured in Alien, a film which has gone on to spawn numerous sequels and prequels in film and in print.

In 1998 a museum dedicated to H.R. Giger opened in Gruyere, Switzerland. The museum serves to showcase both Giger’s own work as well as his extensive personal art collection. Giger’s work has been exhibited internationally in museums such as the Museum Halle Saint Pierre in Paris, the National Technical Museum of Prague, as well as in exhibitions in Australia, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.

Giger’s numerous awards include the 1980 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on Alien, the San Diego Comic-Con Inkpot Award, the Vargas Award for outstanding contributions to the airbrush industry, and La Médaille de la Ville de Paris for outstanding and profound contributions to the progression of modern art.

Photo by Annie Bertram