Guitarist Eddie Van Halen passed away nearly four months ago, and his fans have been leaving tributes across the city. The largest one to date is a giant mural commissioned by Guitar Center in Hollywood, unveiled yesterday, on what would have been the late rockers 66th birthday.
View this post on Instagram
DTLA-based artist Robert Vargas has spent the last two weeks freehand painting a more than 100-foot close up of his hero wailing on guitar in front of a Van Halen logo that spreads out like angel wings.
Vargas blared the tunes of his favorite rock band for passersby while he created the mural near Sunset Boulevard and Gardner Street.
“The debut Van Halen record was the first album I ever owned,” Vargas said in a statement. “He influenced me over the years in so many different ways. 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.”
Vargas once met the late guitar hero. In an Instagram post from October, Vargas recalled, “I was painting live in Pasadena and [Eddie Van Halen] was there watching me work. Afterwards, he came up to me and we were talking about the creative process and he said, ‘man, to draw on the spot like that, without a warm-up and nail it in one take..? it’s great. What can I say, You’re the king’ to which I responded, ‘No brother, YOU’RE THE KING!’ It was such an amazing moment for me because, he was my hero.”
Van Halen joins Jimi Hendrix, whose larger-than-life faces has adorned the front of the building since 2018.