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H. R. Giger

H. R. Giger

Born and raised in the ancient town of Chur, located on the coast of the Rhine, Giger grew up in an environment that was somewhat stifling to his creativity. His father, a chemist by trade, wanted his son to pursue a stable career as a pharmacist. Giger, however, had other plans for what he wanted to do with his life, and at the age of 22 moved to the Swiss capital of Zurich to study art. A lifelong sufferer of night terrors, Giger kept a notebook at his bedside where he made sure to draw what he remembered after a particularly vivid nightmare. Those nightmares would become the basis for most of Giger's surrealist paintings, which were collected in his famous art book, 1977's Necronomicon. One of the earliest admirers of the book was director Ridley Scott, who was given Necronomicon during the pre-production of "Alien." Scott loved what he saw and hired Giger to produce conceptual designs for the film, thinking Giger's drawings set the exact tone the director was hoping to achieve in the film. When "Alien" was released in 1979, both audiences and critics were left awestruck by the richness in detail of the title character's design. Academy members were too, and awarded Giger and his crew that year's Oscar for Best Special Effects. Giger continued to work on films throughout the 1980s and '90s, including the design work on two "Alien" sequels, "Aliens" and "Alien 3" (1992), as well as other sci-fi films like "Species" (1995) and "Prometheus." In addition to his wide body of film work, Giger was also an accomplished designer of album covers. In addition to designing artwork for bands like Danzig and Dead Kennedys, he also designed the controversial Brain Salad Surgery album sleeve for progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. In 2013 Giger was recognized for his immense contributions to the film and art worlds by being inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. His fellow inductees that year included David Bowie and Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien. H.R. Giger died in Zurich on May 13, 2014.
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