WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Defends EDDIE VAN HALEN Mural, Calls It 'Literally Flawless'
January 28, 2021
Wolfgang Van Halen has defended renowned muralist Robert Vargas against criticism from VAN HALEN fans over the mural of his father, legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
On Tuesday (January 26),Guitar Center, the world's largest musical instrument retailer, unveiled an Eddie Van Halen mural on the outside wall of its flagship Hollywood, California store located on the famous Sunset Strip.
While majority of the feedback from VAN HALEN fans has 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 donated his time and talent to design and create the mural, which measures approximately 17 feet tall x 105 feet long and covers the entirety of the store's outer wall at its rear entrance.
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 has 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 at the age of 65. His death was announced by his son.
Eddie died at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Following his death, fans left flowers at his childhood home on Las Lunas Street in Pasadena, California. Additional flowers, candles and fan mementos were placed on Allen Avenue where Eddie and his brother, VAN HALEN drummer Alex, scratched their band's name into the wet cement of a sidewalk when they were teenagers.
In October, a City Council meeting was held in Pasadena, where a memorial honoring Eddie was discussed. City manager Steve Mermell was directed to come up with ideas for how to best honor the musician.
VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
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. pic.twitter.com/fJsrzjYzCT