I didn’t really know who the guy was, but I find from Wikipedia that H. R. Giger (born 1940, died three days ago) was a Swiss painter and designer who shared the 1979 Academy Award for best visual effects for the movie “Alien”. Here’s Giger:
That movie, by the way, is one of the very few science-fiction films that I really like, and the Wikipedia entry for it is huge, including this discussion of Giger’s contributions:
H. R. Giger designed and worked on all of the alien aspects of the film, which he designed to appear organic and biomechanical in contrast to the industrial look of the Nostromo and its human elements. For the interior of the derelict spacecraft and egg chamber he used dried bones together with plaster to sculpt much of the scenery and elements. Veronica Cartwright described Giger’s sets as “so erotic…it’s big vaginas and penises…the whole thing is like you’re going inside of some sort of womb or whatever…it’s sort of visceral”. The set with the deceased alien creature, which the production team nicknamed the “space jockey”, proved problematic as 20th Century Fox did not want to spend the money for such an expensive set that would only be used for one scene. Ridley Scott described the set as the cockpit or driving deck of the mysterious ship, and the production team was able to convince the studio that the scene was important to impress the audience and make them aware that this was not a B movie. To save money only one wall of the set was created, and the “space jockey” sat atop a disc that could be rotated to facilitate shots from different angles in relation to the actors. Giger airbrushed the entire set and the “space jockey” by hand.
But I’m really posting this because it’s a good excuse to show this cool photograph, which reader Steve sent me with the caption “Ray Comfort’s nightmare”: