kids encyclopedia robot

H. R. Giger facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
H. R. Giger
HR Giger 2012.jpg
Giger in 2012
Hans Ruedi Giger

(1940-02-05)5 February 1940
Chur, Graubünden, Switzerland
Died 12 May 2014(2014-05-12) (aged 74)
Zürich, Switzerland
Occupation Painter, sculptor, set designer, film director
Style Science fiction, fantasy, occult, macabre
Mia Bonzanigo
(m. 1979; div. 1981)

Carmen Maria Scheifele
(m. 2006)
Partner(s) Li Tobler (1966–1975)
Hans Ruedi Giger-signature.svg

Hans Ruedi Giger ( GHEE-gər; 5 February 1940 – 12 May 2014) was a Swiss artist best known for his airbrushed images that blended human physiques with machines, an art style known as "biomechanical". Giger later abandoned airbrush for pastels, markers and ink. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for the visual design of Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror film Alien, and was responsible for creating the titular Alien itself. His work is on permanent display at the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland. His style has been adapted to many forms of media, including album covers, furniture, tattoos and video games.

Early life

Giger was born in 1940 in Chur, the capital city of Graubünden, the largest and easternmost Swiss canton. His father, a pharmacist, viewed art as a "breadless profession" and strongly encouraged him to enter pharmacy. He moved to Zürich in 1962, where he studied architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts until 1970.


Birth Machine
Birth Machine sculpture in Gruyères

Giger's first success was when H. H. Kunz, co-owner of Switzerland's first poster publishing company, printed and distributed Giger's first posters, beginning in 1969.

Giger's style and thematic execution were influential. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for their design work on the film Alien. His design for the Alien was inspired by his painting Necronom IV and earned him an Oscar in 1980. His books of paintings, particularly Necronomicon and Necronomicon II (1985) and the frequent appearance of his art in Omni magazine contributed to his rise to international prominence. Giger was admitted to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also well known for artwork on several music recording albums including Danzig III: How The Gods Kill by Danzig, Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Attahk by Magma, Heartwork by Carcass, To Mega Therion by Celtic Frost, Eparistera Daimones and Melana Chasmata by Triptykon, Deborah Harry's KooKoo, "Atomic Playboys" by Steve Stevens and Frankenchrist, by the Dead Kennedys.

In 1998, Giger acquired the Saint-Germain Castle in Gruyères, Switzerland, which now houses the H.R. Giger Museum, a permanent repository of his work.

Personal life

Giger had a relationship with Swiss actress Li Tobler until her death in 1975. Tobler's image appears in many of his paintings. He married Mia Bonzanigo in 1979; they divorced a year and a half later.

Giger lived and worked in Zürich with his second wife, Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, who is the director of the H.R. Giger Museum.

On 12 May 2014, Giger died in a Zürich hospital after suffering injuries from a fall.


Giger started with small ink drawings before progressing to oil paintings. For most of his career, he worked predominantly in airbrush, creating monochromatic canvasses depicting surreal, nightmarish dreamscapes. He also worked with pastels, markers and ink.

Giger's most distinctive stylistic innovation was that of a representation of humans and machines in cold, interconnected relationships, which he described as "biomechanical". His main influences were painters Dado, Ernst Fuchs, and Salvador Dalí. He was introduced to Dali by painter Robert Venosa. Giger was also influenced by Polish sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski, and by painters Austin Osman Spare and Mati Klarwein, and was a personal friend of Timothy Leary. He studied interior and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art in Zurich from 1962 to 1965, and made his first paintings as art therapy.

Other works

Entrance to Giger Bar in Chur

Giger directed a number of films, including Swiss Made (1968), Tagtraum (1973), Giger's Necronomicon (1975) and Giger's Alien (1979).

Giger created furniture designs. He also applied his biomechanical style to interior design.


  • Dune (designs for Alejandro Jodorowsky's unproduced adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel; the separate movie Dune was later made in an adaptation by David Lynch)
  • Alien (designed, among other things, the Alien creature, "The Derelict" and the "Space Jockey")
  • Aliens (credited for the creation of the creature only)
  • Alien 3 (designed the dog-like Alien bodyshape, plus a number of unused concepts, many mentioned on the special features disc of Alien 3, despite not being credited in the movie theater version)
  • Alien Resurrection (credited for the creation of the creature only)
  • Alien vs. Predator (credited for the creation of the creature only)
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (credited for the creation of the creature only)
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side
  • Species (designed Sil, and the Ghost Train in a dream sequence)
  • Species II (the film includes Eve, based on creature Sil from the first Species film)
  • Batman Forever (unused design of a radically different Batmobile)
  • Future-Kill (designed artwork for the movie poster)
  • Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (creature designs)
  • Prometheus (The film includes "The Derelict" spacecraft and the "Space Jockey" designs from the first Alien film, as well as a "Temple" design from the failed Jodorowsky Dune project and original extraterrestrial murals created exclusively for Prometheus, based in conceptual art from Alien. Unlike Alien Resurrection, the Prometheus film credited H. R. Giger with the original designs.)
  • Alien: Covenant (the film includes the Alien creature, "The Derelict" spacecraft and the "Space Jockey" designs from the first Alien film)


Giger was awarded the Inkpot Award in 1979.

In addition to his awards, Giger was recognized by a variety of festivals and institutions. On the one year anniversary of his death, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City staged the series The Unseen Cinema of HR Giger in May 2015.

Dark Star: H. R. Giger's World, a biographical documentary by Belinda Sallin, debuted 27 September 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland.

In July 2018, the asteroid 109712 Giger was named in his memory.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: H. R. Giger para niños

kids search engine
H. R. Giger Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.