Victoria artist paints Eddie Van Halen memorial mural
Victoria artist Paul Archer has painted a memorial mural for Eddie Van Halen, who died of cancer in early October.
VICTORIA -- Renowned Victoria artist Paul Archer has painted a massive mural of rocker Eddie Van Halen in memory of the musician, who died of cancer on Oct. 6 at the age of 65.
Archer, whose works include a massive mural of the famous lone wolf Takaya, painted the large mural of Van Halen on the back of his shop in downtown Victoria.
The artist got to know Van Halen after working as a stagehand for the rocker in Victoria.
“I was a stagehand at the Memorial Arena, [now known as the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena], and we actually went to lunch together and had fish and chips,” says Archer.
“We talked and he became kind of like a friend because every time Van Halen would play, I would be at the show and I’d be a stagehand and he’d know me by name,” he says.
The Victoria artist says the pair would talk about art and music, noting that Van Halen loved to play but couldn’t actually read sheet music. The local artist would eventually show Van Halen some of his works in his later years as a stagehand.
Archer says that it took “two hard days” to complete the massive mural, which was painted under wet and windy conditions. A tarp and heater were brought in to keep both the artist and the wall warm while painting.
While the mural spans the height of a building, Archer says he originally planned for the mural to be three times as large. However, he found it difficult to find a location to paint a larger mural, as other property owners cited barriers like permits and other red tape.
“People kept saying, ‘No, red tape, permit,’ all sorts of stuff so then I decided, ‘Well, you know what? I’ve got a wall on my building,’” he says.
Archer says that Victorians are welcome to stop by his shop during business hours, located at 847 Fort St., to see the mural and take pictures with it.
He says he hopes the mural honours the rocker and reminds visitors of his work.
When asked what he thought Van Halen would think of the mural, Archer said he thinks the legendary musician would approve.
“A lot of people say he’s up there looking down and smiling and I hope so,” says Archer. “I think he would love it. Being immortalized on a wall is kind of a cool thing.”