Olathe & Southwest Joco

Olathe intersection will become canvas for downtown mural

Shogo Yamazaki, known professionally as Jay Shogo, creates his colorful works using only Sharpie permanent markers
Shogo Yamazaki, known professionally as Jay Shogo, creates his colorful works using only Sharpie permanent markers Courtesy photo

On the evening of June 28, the public is invited to the Johnson County Square in downtown Olathe to see artist Shogo Yamazaki begin work on a pavement mural that is part of the city’s effort to make the downtown area more lively and inviting.

The activity, on the intersection of Park and Cherry streets, will be part of the Fourth Friday celebration held monthly in warm-weather months. The event runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. with live music, food trucks and other activities.

Yamazaki, known professionally as Jay Shogo, creates his colorful works using only Sharpie permanent markers, according to his website. He was chosen after the city issued a call for artists in March that offered up to $3,000 for the mural. The work was originally scheduled to be done in May, but bad weather forced the cancellation of that Fourth Friday event.

Shogo is expected to finish the mural within two days of starting, weather permitting.

“Jay’s unique and bright linear design will be an exciting attraction to downtown enhancing the visual interest of the area,” Emily Carrillo, who is managing the project for the city, said by email. “His art is inviting and simple, yet colorful and impactful, complementary to the space and its surroundings.”

The city won’t reveal the design ahead of time, but Carrillo said the artist has described it as flowing lines expressing space-time and the flow from past to future, as well as history, life and “good connections” with people and community.

Because of wear and weathering, Shogo’s work won’t last forever. In fact, the city plans to commission a new mural design each spring. That plan not only addresses potential maintenance issues, Carrillo said, “but it also creates a greater sense of connections with people, the neighborhood and public art.”

The pavement allotted for the mural is 66-by-47-feet at its widest points. The location was chosen because it is the focal point for active community space during downtown events such as Fourth Fridays and the Old Settlers celebration. Carrillo said. The intersection also is the point of origin for Olathe’s coordinate system for street addresses.

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