Shohei Ohtani mural unveiled in LA’s Little Tokyo

Shohei Ohtani mural unveiled in LA’s Little Tokyo
via @therobertvargas
Bryan Ke
9 days ago
Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo recently unveiled a new landmark: a massive mural featuring the two-way star of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Shohei Ohtani.
Key points:
  • Dozens of fans attended the unveiling of the 13-story, 150-foot-tall (45.7-meter-tall) mural of Ohtani in Little Tokyo on March 27.
  • The mural, titled “LA Rising,” was created by Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, artist Robert Vargas on the side of the Miyako Hotel. Vargas told Los Angeles Magazine that the mural symbolizes and was inspired by “unity, bridging cultures and representation.”
The details:
  • Vargas worked on the giant mural for seven to 10 hours every day since the project kicked off in early March.
  • Vargas explained to the Rafu Shimpo that he utilized a freehand drawing style while working on the painting. This approach meant that he did not follow any grids or projections typically used on large-scale projects.
  • In addition to the giant mural, Vargas incorporated modern technology into his art piece by adding a QR code at the base of the installation. When scanned, people can view Ohtani’s mural swinging his bat from the side of the Miyako Hotel using augmented reality. Vargas collaborated with the Los Angeles-based software company The AR Firm for the feature.
  • “There are a lot of local businesses that are very excited about this project and see the importance of this mural,” Vargas told the Rafu Shimpo. “This mural serves as an important reminder that there is so much more that we have in common than not and I am excited to be a part of it.”
About the artist:
  • Before the Ohtani mural, Vargas had created murals of other celebrities, including the late Kobe Bryant. Additionally, he has painted portraits of local business owners, such as the founders of Suehiro Cafe, Junko and Yuriko Suzuki.
  • Vargas has also traveled to several countries to share his work, including in Egypt and England.
  • Born and raised in Boyle Heights, Vargas is a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York.
  • The City of Los Angeles honored Vargas in December 2022 by naming the intersection of First and State streets “Robert Vargas Square.”
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