14 May 2014

HR Giger, the creator of the Alien characters, has died

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HR Giger HR Giger Ridley Scott

One of the most influential film designers of all time has left the stage

 

Trying to introduce the subject of a man who needs no introduction is difficult, so we'll keep things simple: the man who designed the alien for Ridley Scott's seminal movie is, tragically, dead.

HR Giger was born in eastern Switzerland in 1940 and advised by his parents to avoid the arts as a career, an experience I suspect will be common to a lot of people reading this article. His study of industrial design during the 60s will come as no surprise to anyone who's seen his famous airbrushed biomechanical style, probably best exemplified by the aforementioned xenomorph and associated designs of the film. Giger, despite having been reluctant to travel from his Swiss studio to work on Alien, worked on many more films including Species and the unproduced Jodorowsky version of Dune, produced art for album covers, video games, and even produced interior designs for two Giger Bars, which remain open in Switzerland.

"Trend-setting" is a gigantic understatement

To call his work trend-setting is a gigantic understatement. A huge proportion of otherworldly designs for biological entities have very visibly referred to Giger's work, and his original Alien designs were of course reused for Prometheus. As to whether you like Giger's original art – or perhaps whether you like it but wouldn't necessarily want it emblazoned at a large scale in any position where it might risk catching one's eye when coming home to a dark and lonely abode after a late evening  – well, that's another question. But Giger claimed that his work was based on his nightmares, and the success of it seems to have been that it successfully refers to more or less everyone's nightmares.

And now there will be no more of it. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, though, I'm sure we can look forward to seeing Giger's work referred to on screen for the foreseeable future. Three cheers, then, for the man who produced some fine art and helped make scary movies just that bit more scary.

 


Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes is a Cinematographer, Technologist, Writer and above all Communicator. Never afraid to speak his mind, and always worth listening to, he's a frequent contributor to RedShark.

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