Legendary Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger, has died this past Monday, May 12th,2014 after sustaining injuries from a fall. He was 74. Born on February 5, 1940 in the rural town of Chur, Switzerland, the artist showed an interest in dark art forms from an early age but trained to be an industrial designer at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich.
Geiger was best known for designing the iconic “xenomorph” creature in the Alien movie franchise, and for his work in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious film, “Dune”.
Giger’s nightmarish imagery-a blend of mechanical and biological androids-was in fact fueled by his own bad dreams and by an early interest in artists like Salvador Dali and Ernst Fuchs. The artist kept a journal by his bed so he could record the imagery. Wired reported that Giger had “an idyllic childhood in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But it harbored forbidding structures and estranged elements that left an impression on a child subjected to night terrors and panic attacks.”
An early series of controversial art, most likely influenced by his perturbed childhood nightmares and anxieties, landed Giger a gig to create the album cover of the 1973 Emerson, Lake & Palmer album, “Brain Salad Surgery.” After his success with the English progressive rock trio, Giger became highly solicited in the movie business.
After winning an Academy Award for visual effects on “Alien,” the artist continued to experiment in show business by designing sets for “Poltergeist II” (1986) and “Alien III” (1992).
Giger, however, found himself disliking Hollywood. Later after the last Alien movie, he retreated back to Zurich in hopes that he could get back to being a visual artist for his own sake.
In 1998, the artist founded the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland. Since then, Giger was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and worked on several other projects- including a guitar line with Ibanez. (via NPR and Daily News)