Thoughts on HR Giger from the metal art world


I reached out to some metal artist, authors and musicians…Here are their thoughts on HR Giger…As they come in, I will update this post…

Eliran Kantor: “RIP H.R. Giger …A visionary in a field comprised mainly of spectators. More than anything I was in awe of his landscapes, even in his early work before setting on his unique style – he could manipulate vastness into something that is suffocating .”


Sean Tidy: “What a fantastically, twisted artist and visionary.”


Godmachine:  “One of the first things I read and remember about Giger, and Ive made a quick google search, but so much of my life has come from reading books, I have found nothing on google, but in the blurry tilted shelves of my mind I am sure I have read a piece where Giger talks about the worst experience of his life was being strangled by his mothers vagina as he was being born. Graphic, one may exclaim, but really?! have you seen his paintings? are you that surprised really? I, like many kids did a lot of art projects on him:  how those poor hippy cast-off art teachers must have suffered looking at teenagers art books all over the world  filled with penis and vagina techno-sexual greyness. I digress, Any man that has memories of being born, and for all we know he could have remembered being convinced….do we really believe that death as us logical folk agree it to be,  applies to him? Atoms were formed to make a being that could draw in a way that held up to us our most alien and equally human aspects, then reformed when he’d had enough. An unarguable legend, and important part of art has moved on. I, we, thank you sincerely Mr Giger. ”


Mark Riddick:  “Giger changed the landscape of surrealism and fantasy/sci-fi art by offering a fresh and untapped vision all his own. Giger’s unique style and approach to art made an impression on our perception of the otherworldly; offering eerie and desolate landscapes, haunting creatures, and occult symbolism beyond our wildest imagination. His vast body of work will remain a testament to the undiscovered territories that lurk in the darkest depths of our creative genius. Giger-a true creator, innovator, mentor, and visionary, rest in peace.”


Brad Albright: “While it’s difficult not to view Giger through the lens of the Alien film legacy, it’s certainly a testament to the power of his singular vision.  As an impressionable child, fascinated by science fiction and horror, my realization that the haunting xenomorph of the Alien trilogy came from the mind of a single artist was revelatory.  Art didn’t have to be merely pretty or technical like the examples I was shown in the local museums… it could be haunting, entertaining, surreal, and visceral.”


D.X. Ferris, (author of Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years): “A month or two ago, I tweeted, “I don’t want to go to sleep. I’m scared that if I do, the cover from the new Triptykon album is going to get me.” I think I followed it with another tweet that read, “I’m serious. I mean, look at it I don’t know what that thing is either. If it offered to fuck me but said it would kill me afterward, I still might seriously consider the offer. What the fuck IS that? Is it a head? A tendril? Spines? Copulating aliens? I can’t tell. And honestly, examining it closely is disturbing. In the abstract, I can tell you what it is: It’s another H.R. Giger masterpiece, one in a long series of unsettling biomechanical images.

Like all of Giger’s work — which has graced so many hard rock albums over so many years, and I won’t bore you with another recap today — the Melana Chasmata piece is 100% fantastic, and it doesn’t look like anything that exists in our world. That said, it looks 100% realistic. And not just realistic, but plausible.

Most monsters are some kind of creepy fantasy image. But Giger’s disciplined art was rooted in realism, and even his more fantastic pieces look like the kind of thing that can happen with just a little bio-engineering. If advanced extraterrestrial life exists, when we make first contact, if they look like Giger’s Space Jockey and the Xenomorph from Alien, it won’t be a surprise. Well, it won’t be a surprise to the generations of movie and music fans who have grown up with a window into Giger’s universe as an important part of their world.

Even the rare (mostly) biologically neutral piece that graces Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion, looks realistic — and it’s a demon using a crucifix as a slingshot. That thing is lurking under a bed somewhere.

I love metal and its adjacent aesthetics, be they horrific, dark, sexy, whatever. But body horror makes me squirm. It’s eerie enough to look at a mutilated torso in a zombie movie. Or a surgically altered body or three in The Human Centipede. Or a twisted, genetically altered form in a Cronenberg flick. But unlike all those manifestations of the body horror dynamic, you can’t simply look away from Giger’s work. You can’t ignore it.

Giger’s work is spellbinding; a lot of it has a sexy element, with something for everyone. Horrific though they may be, they’re still full of tongues, lips, curves, legs, orifices, a bagful of dicks — each and every one with enough visual texture that they feel hot and wet. No, you can’t not look at it. And you can’t not have a visceral reaction. How much art works that well?

H.P. Lovecraft suggested the kind of terrible-but-alluring landscape that H.R. Giger created time and again. But Giger delivered it.

Also, Giger was a cool guy. Shortly after he won an Oscar for his Alien design work, a young Tom G. Warrior/Thomas Gabriel Fischer wrote a letter to Giger. Giger not only took the time to respond to him, but became a mentor and partner over the long haul. Giger could have stayed in Hollywood and done coke off of stripper’s asses in fetish bars. But he took time to befriend a kid in an unknown band with the ridicule-able Hellhammer.

Plus, Giger penetrated the pinnacles of Hollywood, and he never sacrificed his edge. I doubt we’ll ever see another artist quite like him again. And that’s fine, because I don’t know whether I could handle it. I won’t sleep any easier now that he’s gone, because his work is still out there. And it’s alive. And it’s dangerous. And I can’t help but look at it.”


Angryblue: Giger opened up my eyes to the decadence & beauty that can be found in the crunchy grime of the dark.


Brent Elliott White: “What a loss. The man had such a mind for the abstract and was a rare master at his craft. His concepts shaped so much of what I personally love about art. Strong concepts and storytelling that challenges the viewer. He told the entire Alien back story in a single piece (the latest Aliens installment seemed to be Ridley Scott trying to decipher the hidden story in Giger’s original Alien concept designs). The Necronomicon has probably influenced more artists, filmmakers, creature and makeup artists than the bible. Total legend. Beksinski, Frazzeta and now Giger. Another great one is lost. It really is terrible news.”


Skinner: “You know I never really got into GIGER that much until later.. My gothed out Danzig friends in high school were into him and I was more into ministry and the illuminati and lovecraft books… Ironically my art at the time was large scale dystopian charcoal pieces that totally had a GIGER spirit.. I guess I got into him more later when I saw the books.. I liked the perspective of a huge alien cock penetrating some vast weird vagina machine or like the war propaganda of a lot of it.. It was harsh and forced you to deal.. Then I finally became a huge fan of what his art could possibly do when I saw it in a monolithic huge scale in Prometheus.. I really thought to myself that his talents had been neglected by not doing that sooner.. Giving him more scope to impart a strange alien vision more easily.. A great one has passed.”


Dusty Peterson: “It is putting it lightly that I was dramatically influenced by the work of HR Giger. I was probably no older than 12 when I first saw his art books at the book store. I remember saving up lawn-mowing money to buy them, and to this day I own every one of his published collections of art. I watched Alien well before I probably should have. I wrote reports on him for English class in High School. This obsession of mine even led me to being able to visit the Giger Bar in Chur, Switzerland when I was 19 (thanks to my mom and her husband), which is a memory I will never forget.

It’s strange feeling such a loss about a person that I never knew. But through his art, I developed a connection to HR Giger that can never be broken.
His art changed my life and the inspiration that I received from his contributions pushed me to always think outside the box when creating my own work. He showed me at a very early age that I didn’t have to paint “nice things”. I didn’t have to be a “starving artist” making generic art that ends up in thrift stores. I could paint, draw, sculpt and do whatever I want and I didn’t have to sugar coat what I create.

RIP Hans Ruedi Giger.
You will continue to inspire even though you are gone….”


Paul Romano:  “As with many, my introduction to HR Giger’s work was through Alien. I was only 9 years old when the film was released but knew all that I could about it through Famous Monsters and any magazine of the like published back then. Seeing his paintings for the film exploded my pre-teen mind. His work was so hard to come by for a kid in the early 80s, pre-instant-everything-internet. This made the work all the more mysterious and I savored the few pieces reproduced in film and fantasy magazines. Through my teens his work was a focus of emulation for me, albeit through different mediums; never could quite get good enough with an airbrush. His unmistakable vision taught me so much and while quieter now, his influence on my own work still holds strong with me. HR Giger and his maverick imagination opened the door to the abstruse allowing for many of my generation to pursue their own art that embraces and finds beauty in the dark.”


Brian Allen: “Like most artists, Giger had a profound effect on me growing up.  He was the first artist that really got me excited about artwork.  He seemed to defy High School art teachers everywhere by taking themes that were previously confined to pulp culture mags (like sci-fi, horror, aliens) and making them into fine art.  He was the first artist at a young age that showed me you can have a career as an artist painting something other than farm houses.”


Vincent Castiglia: “Shocked and heartbroken, I write this in disbelief.

HR Giger, my mentor and friend has passed away. The world has lost one of it’s most precious creations, and will never be the same.

Growing up, Giger’s sublime and ethereal creations were a wellspring of mystery and inspiration for me.
I was surrounded by his art, his posters on my walls, his books always open, trying to share with others the ineffable chasm of wonder he’d unearthed for the universe to witness. He was, and always will be my favorite artist and single most greatest inspiration.

I started making art because I had to, it’s how I survived, and how I understood and related to the world. I venture the statement that this is what I saw in Giger’s masterworks, a work of necessity, albeit a labor of love. Beyond the painstaking exactness and solemnity of his paintings, was a very organic, rhythm of necessary unfolding. It wasn’t even in my wildest dreams that I’d ever imagined the possibility our paths crossing. But as chance had it, they did.

In 2007, Giger and his lovely wife, Carmen, offered to host a solo exhibition of my paintings at the HR Giger Museum Gallery. Feeling as though the skies above my humble existence had parted, I was floored and honored by the invitation, which went to culminate in my very first solo exhibition of paintings, “Remedy For The Living”, opening in November of 2008, and closing in April of 2009.

Words fail to communicate the significance of this event for me. In short, to have been acknowledged by my art hero in this way, the ‘god among men’ as I’d referred to him, and acknowledged by him on this magnitude, just truly changed my life forever. The exhibition opened, and closed. Years have gone by, but the fact that he saw with his own two eyes something in my work and in me that he felt merited his time and care has been ingrained within my being. Giger gave me a chance, as an artist and a human being, and shared of himself. I’m forever grateful for having known him, and to have called him a friend.

For the very few people who know me for most of my life, from my early life, they know it wasn’t one of many close ties, loving memories, or happy stories to tell. As sad as this day is for me, having been profoundly touched by Giger’s work, and even more profoundly moved by him personally, as the master he was, and also the mentor and friend he came to be—this is one of the happiest, most joyous pleasures I’ve been fortunate to know. Where closeness and solidarity lacked on native soil, it was made up for by an extended, chosen family in Switzerland.

Giger will always live in my heart, and every heart he’s quickened with his incomprehensible genius, his conquest of the psyche, his contribution to the arts, and to all humanity.

I speak for all that knew you or knew of you when I say, we love you, HRG, always, RIP…”

*(taken from his facebook page with permission)


Seldon Hunt: “Well, I was never a huge fan nor did he have any influence on my work. Obviously I respect the enormous influence and impact he had on many people. As for myself, I guess I was never really interested in that direction of work growing up, i was more into contemporary/experiemental/avante garde modern art, probably because I was some what of a wanker. Somehow the books of his work just reminded me of coffee table books of cheesy 70′s illustrations or something whenever I saw them in bookstores! I loved the work he did for Alien and I saw much of the development work for that at his museum in Switzerland when i visited it with Stephen O’Malley many years ago, it was very cool. I loved how he transformed a simple art and illustration practice into something iconic, that certainly was an inspiration for me, in my ignorance and blind faith and ego I had hoped I would somehow be able to do that myself, but that obviously was never going to happen and you realize just how ambitious and talented he was to achieve so much that he did!”

About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.