Yesterday would have been legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s 67th birthday, and in celebration, one artist decided to honor the rock star in a mural that jumps off the wall.
California artist Robert Varga handpainted a massive 17-ft by 105-ft mural of Eddie Van Halen in his prime – complete with his signature rocker locks and Frankenstrat guitar. By itself, this mural is a masterpiece that captures the energy and passion behind the guitarist. But one company, The AR Firm, decided to take this tribute one step further with augmented reality.
Now, when fans visit the mural at the Hollywood Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard, they can download an app that brings Eddie Van Halen’s memory to life. Once fans hold up their phones to the mural, they can watch as the icon shreds on his guitar.
“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, according to Blabbermouth.net. “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.”
Take a look for yourself in the preview below.
The Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard has a history of honoring Van Halen’s memory and legacy in the music realm. Outside, they have a RockWalk which features his handprints. Meanwhile, inside the shop, they have several of his prized instruments on display.
Eddie Van Halen’s Son Expresses Appreciation for Mural Artist
Of course, Eddie Van Halen’s biggest fan was his son, Wolf, who has become an icon, himself, as a bassist and guitarist. Wolf was extremely pleased with how the mural turned out and wrote to Vargas on Twitter. Along with the message, he included a few photos of the masterpiece for his father’s fans to enjoy.
“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,” Wolf said. “What an incredible honor it is to see Pop immortalized in such a beautiful way.”
Once Vargas read Wolf’s message of gratitude, he wrote back, “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.”