Iconic 'Alien' designer H.R. Giger passes away

Swiss artist H.R. Giger, famous for his "Alien" biomechanical environment and creatures, has died at the age of 74.

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H.R. Giger Matthias Belz

H.R. Giger, the legendary Swiss artist responsible for designing the horrific biomechanical creatures in "Alien," died at the age of 74 due to injuries sustained from a fall.

An administrator of the H.R. Giger museum in Switzerland told The Associated Press that Giger died in a hospital on Monday, confirming earlier reports in Swiss media.

Giger was born in Chur, Switzerland, in 1940, to parents that included a father who wanted his son to follow in his footsteps as a pharmacist. Luckily for the art world and filmmakers alike, Giger followed his heart instead and attended the School of Applied Arts in Zurich.

After graduating, Giger created original art pieces and worked as a furniture designer for Andreas Christen. He later quit his day job to concentrate on his art full time. In 1968, Giger created his first alien creature prop for the short film "Swissmade," and began to show more of his paintings in galleries such as The Galerie Bischofsberger and Galerie Stummer. Giger suffered from night terrors, which he said in numerous interviews influenced his trademark biomechanical creatures that mesh humans and machines.

Through his connections with artists Bob Venosa and Salvador Dali, Giger was introduced to director Alexandro Jodorowsky, who commissioned him to design elements of his concepts for the film, "Dune." While Jodorowsky's "Dune" never came to fruition, director Ridley Scott noticed Giger's work on the film concepts, as well as Giger's art book "Necronomicon." The two agreed to collaborate on the sci-fi horror film, "Alien," which earned Giger an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects in 1980 for his unique meshing of human, alien, and mechanical elements.

While director James Cameron did not ask Giger to collaborate with him on the sequel "Aliens," Giger did return to his horrific creation thanks to director David Fincher for "Alien 3" with new sketches for the alien beast body shape. Giger's work can also be seen in the movies "Poltergeist II," "Species," "Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis," and "Prometheus."

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Giger's art often meshed human and mechanical elements which resulted in his well-known biomechanical look. H.R. Giger

Giger's unique art style also caught the eye of rock stars, and he found himself designing album covers for the likes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Deborah Harry, Danzig, and The Dead Kennedys, to name a few.

In addition to his work with films and fine art, Giger designed and opened the Giger Bar (housed within the Giger Museum at the Chateau St. Germain in Gruyere) which is a work of art in itself, with a floor to ceiling "Alien" biomechanical environment. There's also another Giger Bar in his birthplace of Chur, Switzerland.

While the third Giger Bar in New York and a fourth Giger Bar in Tokyo both closed, Sci-Fi Hotel founder Andy Davies recently spoke with Giger about bringing a new Giger Bar to a yet-to-be-determined city in the United States.

While Giger may have never been fully appreciated by art critics in his own country, in 2013, he was honored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in Seattle, along with the likes of David Bowie and J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

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