Saturday, May 17, 2014

Art of HR Giger

This past week artist HR Giger passed away after complications from a fall at the age of 74. His artwork had an enormous influence on a lot of people in the gothic and industrial subcultures. I think everyone is familiar with his dark and disturbing imagery due in part to his work on the 1980 film Aliens, for which he won an Oscar.

Giger was born in 1940 in Switzerland, the son of a chemist. His father apparently thought art was a "bread less profession" and encouraged him to go into pharmaceuticals. Luckily Giger pursued his interest in art, and attended the Zurich School of Applied Arts in 1962, where he studied architecture and industrial design.
He fist started doing paintings in response to night terrors he was having, as a sort of art therapy. He started using air brush, but later switched to pastels and inks. As mentioned above his most famous work was on the Alien movie, but his books of art including Necronomicon and Necronomicon II also helped make him famous.

His style is immediately recognizable with it's cold and dark colours, and mix of industrial machinery with human and animal forms. Many have termed his work "biomechanical" and you can see why this had such an influence in the later industrial goth, and particularly cybergoth subcultures.
Personally I am not an enormous fan as the work is a little too dark and mechanical, but I know a lot of people who love his work. I have good Giger memories, like being exposed to his stuff at art school by a friend who was obsessed with his work, and some of the art being used on industrial/goth night
posters when I was playing in a local goth band.

What are your thoughts on Giger's work?

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