Hans Rudolf 'Ruedi' Giger (pronounced /?i?r/, born in Chur, Grisons Canton, Switzerland, February 5, 1940) is a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor, and set designer, who won an Academy Award for Best Achievement for Visual Effects for his design work on the film Alien.
Giger was born in 1940 in Chur, Switzerland, the son of a chemist. In 1962, he moved to Zurich, where he studied interior and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art until 1970. Giger had a relationship with Swiss actress Li Tobler until she committed suicide in 1975. He married Mia Bonzanigo in 1979; they split up a year and a half later.
Giger's style and thematic execution have been influential. 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 continued his rise to international prominence. Giger is also well known for artwork on several records.
In 1998 Giger acquired the Chateau St. Germain in Gruyeres, Switzerland, and it now houses the H. R. Giger Museum, a permanent repository of his work.
Giger got his start with small ink drawings before progressing to oil paintings. For most of his career, Giger has worked predominantly in airbrush, creating monochromatic canvasses depicting surreal, nightmarish dreamscapes. However, he has now largely abandoned large airbrush works in favor of works with pastels, markers or ink.
His most distinctive stylistic innovation is that of a representation of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected relationship, described as "biomechanical". His paintings often display fetishistic sexual imagery. His main influences were painters Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dali. He met Salvador Dali, to whom he was introduced by painter Robert Venosa. He was also a personal friend of Timothy Leary. Giger is perhaps the best-known sufferer of night terrors and his paintings are all to some extent inspired by his experiences with that particular sleep disorder. He studied interior and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art in Zurich (from 1962 to 1970) and made his first paintings as a means of art therapy.