“I want to extend my most heartfelt gratitude to the unfathomably talented [Robert Vargas] and [Guitar Center] for the painting of this incredible mural of my father at Guitar Center Hollywood,” the musician tweeted Wednesday. “What an incredible honor it is to see Pop immortalized in such a beautiful way.”
Vargas’ piece, “Long Live the King,” is 17-feet tall and 105-feet long, spanning the store’s entire outer wall at the rear entrance. The painting shows the late musician playing his famous “Frankenstrat” guitar, wearing his 1980-81 necklace and backed by the iconic Van Halen band logo.
You can see a clip detailing Vargas’ creative process below.
“Long Live the King” was revealed Tuesday with suitable fanfare, as a crew of famous locals — including Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes, actor and filmmaker Bradley Cooper and comedian George Lopez — reportedly dropped by for the event.
Vargas told People he finished the painting in roughly 10 days, “completely free-hand [with] all brush work, no grids, no projections and no stencils.” And as noted to Variety, he aimed to match the grandeur of the guitarist himself.
“This is Hollywood — Sunset Strip, where the band made a name for themselves. I wanted to be able to celebrate that,” he said. “They were famous all around the world, but this is home. If there was going to be an Eddie Van Halen mural that was going to go up here, I definitely had to be the one to do it. I wanted to do it bigger and larger than life, just like Eddie was.”
The artist, who called Van Halen his “favorite rock band,” “first record” and “first concert,” also said the design was a no-brainer.
“When you look at him and watch him play, when he would raise the guitar up like that, it’s just such an iconic pose for him,” he said. “It means he’s in the zone. He’s just flying.”
You can see photos from the mural’s unveiling below.