Daily Illuminator

May 21, 2014: H.R. Giger Thank You For All The Thrills

The Swiss surrealist and Oscar® winning Alien-designer H.R. Giger, who died on May 12 at the age of 74, was one of the most influential artists of pop culture as a whole, and of our own geek culture in particular.

When I saw the Alien movie in the 1980s I instantly -- like so many others -- became a huge fan of his work. In my opinion the groundbreaking Alien design was as important for the horror genre as was Star Wars for science fiction.

While Giger is best known for his design of the various development stages of the Alien and the unique look of the Alien movies, he also did other designs for movies like Poltergeist II, Species, or the German movie Kondom des Grauens, which is an adaption of Ralf König's comic book.

Other examples of Giger's huge influence are related to music: he did remarkable album covers for rock and punk artists like Magma, Debbie Harry, and Celtic Frost; and Giger's inlay of the Dead Kennedys' Album Frankenchrist resulted in a trial that nearly drove the very important record label Alternative Tentacles into bankruptcy. An example of the countless artists Giger's biomechanical style inspired is the album cover for Sepultura's Chaos A.D.

Giger also was important for gaming: usually I do not play computer games, but for Giger I made an exception: I played the Aliens vs Predator computer game on my PC a lot, and also spent weeks solving the mysteries and exploring the otherworld of Darkseed, which is full of H.R. Giger's art.

I was lucky to see some Giger originals when a huge Hieronymus Bosch exhibition was shown in Antwerp, Belgium, and I can tell you the experience of one of his works in full size -- almost 10 feet in height -- is both an amazing and a frightening experience. The fine details and layers of his airbrush technique make the paintings look real and alive: I can remember very well the horror I felt when one night I saw the second face in Giger's painting Li for the first time.

Thank you for all the thrills and inspiration, Hans-Ruedi. Your unique style will be with us forever and will definitely continue to inspire many of us!

Bonus: Here are some pics of the more rare Giger-inspired stuff I own that I would like to share with you: an Alien egg incense stick, the cover of my copy of Darkseed, an Alien sculpture, an Alien sculpture mirror, and a candleholder. And two more pieces of art a friend of mine designed: a cupboard and a motorcycle tank.

-- Birger Kraemer

Giger_Illuminatus_I Alien_incense_stick_holder darkseed_cover Alien_sculpture Alien_mirror candleholder cupboard_d_richter motorcycle_d_richter

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