An icon to several generations of artists, influential Swiss painter and designer H.R. Giger passed away due to injuries resulting from a fall on May 12, 2014. Born on February 5, 1940 in the small, rural town of Chur, Switzerland, the artist showed an interest in dark, macabre art from an early age but trained to be an industrial designer at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich. His special effects work for the 1979 Ridley Scott film Alien brought him an Oscar and international recognition as a set designer in Hollywood. As a painter and illustrator, Giger pioneered an instantly-recognizable style he referred to as “biomechanical.”
Never one to shy away from shock value, an early collection of his work was dubbed “A Feast for the Psychiatrist” — a possible jab at the naysayers of the time who referred to his work as kitsch. In much of his drawings and paintings, human bodies are fused with machinery in dark, nightmarish compositions marked by an emphasis on architecture and geometry. To commemorate Giger’s legacy, we asked a few purveyors of macabre art — Chet Zar, Christian Rex Van Minnen, Scott Hove, Colin Christian and Paul Booth — to discuss Giger’s impact on their work.