EDDIE VAN HALEN Mural Comes To Life For What Would Have Been His 67th Birthday
January 27, 2022
The AR Firm's motto "Beyond Unreal" became firmly based in reality when they created an app that brought California artist Robert Varga's mural to life. Van Halen's image seamlessly continues to sing and play and can be seen in the video below. The mural itself measures a massive 17 feet by 105 feet. The mural was entirely painted by hand, without the aid of templates, stencils, or projections, and can be found at the iconic Guitar Center location at 7425 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90046.
The AR Firm CEO Roman Gora explained: "Eddie Van Halen was an icon that fans worship to this day. We knew we had a chance to create something really special. This way Eddie will shred forever."
"Augmented reality technology is the next wave of experiential entertainment. We make things people dream about really happen," The AR Firm COO Drew Iwankiw explained. "The waves of Van Halen fans holding up their phones to the mural and tearing up watching Eddie play after his death. I have the best job in the world."
In January 2021, Wolfgang Van Halen defended Vargas against criticism from VAN HALEN fans over the mural of his father. Vargas donated his time and talent to design and create the mural, which covers the entirety of Guitar Center's outer wall at its rear entrance.
While majority of the feedback from VAN HALEN fans had been extremely positive, a couple of fans have opined that the mural of Eddie playing his iconic "Frankenstrat" guitar is not a realistic depiction of the influential axeman.
After one fan tweeted, "I loved Eddie but that doesn't look like him at all", Wolfgang responded: "Homie better get some glasses, because he can't see shit." He added: "The mural is incredible. Literally flawless. I can understand 'not liking a particular piece of art' for whatever reason, but saying it doesn't look like him makes you look BIG dumb. It's not even a matter of taste, it's just straight up wrong." To further illustrate his point, Wolfgang shared a side-by-side comparison of the mural and the actual photograph it is based on.
When the mural was first unveiled, Wolfgang took to his social media to share several pictures of Vargas's creation, and he included the following message: "I want to extend my most heartfelt gratitude to the unfathomably talented @TheRobertVargas , and @guitarcenter for the painting of this incredible mural of my father at Guitar Center Hollywood. What an incredible honor it is to see Pop immortalized in such a beautiful way."
Vargas remarked: "Eddie was one of my creative heroes. When I was young, the debut VAN HALEN record was the first album I ever owned. He influenced me over the years in so many different ways. As soon as the news hit of his passing, I knew I had to do something creative to memorialize him, and Guitar Center was the obvious venue. Right here on the Sunset Strip, where the band made their bones – I can't think of a better place for this tribute to him, and I thank Guitar Center for giving me the canvas to share it with the world."
Guitar Center's Hollywood location has a history of paying tribute to Eddie Van Halen, with Eddie's handprints being a centerpiece and main attraction of Guitar Center's iconic RockWalk outside the store, along with several of his prized instruments and other memorabilia on display behind glass.
Jean-Claude Escudie, Guitar Center category manager, noted: "Eddie Van Halen was a truly monumental force in rock music. He made lead guitar playing popular when it might have been slipping away into punk and new wave minimalist territory, and then basically the entire 80s hard rock scene followed in his wake. Guitar Center saw this first-hand, as generations of lead guitarists have flocked to our stores to try to capture something of what inspires them about Eddie's sound. Besides that, sometimes people forget that he was an immigrant and multi-racial, so in so many ways his story is the story of the American experience."
When people experience the mural, Vargas wants them to see Eddie "in his full glory" and feel like anything is possible. He continued: "When you work hard at something, you can reach your full potential. Be true to your art, and your art will be true to you. I had the chance to meet Eddie a few years back, and because he and I connected on the nature of art and creativity, painting him here is therapeutic. Thank you, Guitar Center for allowing me to use my creative process to connect with him one more time and share it with the world."
Vargas is a contemporary artist known for his mixed-media portraits, murals and live events. Born and raised in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, his best-known works include a City of L.A. commissioned mural "Can't Stop" of legendary SUICIDAL TENDENCIES frontman Mike Muir. He sees his public mural works both in Los Angeles and throughout the world as a means to reach a wider audience and promote accessible art and community through the creative process.
This is not the first mural that had been created in honor of the iconic musician. Less than a month after Eddie's death, airbrush artist Paul Archer painted an Eddie Van Halen mural on the back wall of Archer Airbrushing shop in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Eddie passed away in October 2020 at the age of 65. His death was announced by his son.
The AR Firm offers and invents unrivaled state-of-the-art Augmented Reality experiences and ARXR activations for the world's top clients, live shows, and brands. The company's work combines premier content with the latest technologies, blending physical and digital worlds in innovative yet measurable ways.
Founded in 2016, The AR Firm is an independent Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary AR studio with more than 30,000 hours of development in AR and XR. The company's portfolio includes work for Insomniac, ARWALL, Snapmask, Mel B, John Carpenter, Coachella, Guitar Center, Screamfest, One Love Music Festival, Skrillex, Vita Motus, Adidas, Robert Vargas, and many more high-profile clients.
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