Hans Ruedi “H.R.” Giger (5 February 1940 – 12 May 2014) was a Swiss surrealist painter, whose style was adapted for many forms of media, including record albums, furniture and tattoos.
The Zurich-based artist was best known for airbrush images of humans and machines linked together in a cold ‘biomechanical’ relationship. Later he abandoned airbrush work for pastels, markers, and ink. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for design work on the film Alien. In Switzerland there are two theme bars that reflect his interior designs, and his work is on permanent display at the H.R. Giger Museum at Gruyères.
Giger’s first success was when H. H. Kunz, co-owner of Switzerland’s first poster publishing company, printed and distributed Giger’s first posters, beginning in 1969.
Giger’s style and thematic execution were influential. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for their design work on the film Alien. His design for the Alien was inspired by his painting Necronom IV and earned him an Oscar in 1980. His books of paintings, particularly Necronomicon and Necronomicon II (1985) and the frequent appearance of his art in Omni magazine continued his rise to international prominence.Giger was admitted to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also well known for artwork on several music recording albums including Brain Salad Surgery of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Deborah Harry’s KooKoo.
In 1998 Giger acquired the Château St. Germain in Gruyères, Switzerland, and it now houses the H.R. Giger Museum, a permanent repository of his work.
Giger created furniture designs, particularly the Harkonnen Capo Chair for a film of the novel Dune that was to be directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Many years later, David Lynch directed the film, using only rough concepts by Giger. Giger had wished to work with Lynch. He stated in one of his books that Lynch’s film Eraserhead was closer than even Giger’s own films to realizing his vision.
In addition to his awards, Giger was recognized by a variety of festivals and institutions. On the one year anniversary of his death, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City staged the series The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger in May 2015.