The “Cleveland Renaissance” has inspired a lot of hometown love in recent years. Playhouse Square has seen revitalization, our sports teams have more die-hard fans than ever, and our art galleries, restaurants, and museums have gone from local secrets to a must-see tourist spots. Our city is getting a lot of love, but before it was cool to love Cleveland, people like CSU alum Greg Vlosich and his family were building up their hometown’s pride. It’s that some passion for CLE - especially our sports - that inspired the creation of GV Art and Design. For them, art is in sports, t-shirts are a canvas, and Cleveland is a masterpiece.
GV Art and Design is a home-grown business that creates and sells original Cleveland apparel and artwork. Walking into one of their stores, there’s immediately a sense that you’re in an oh-so-CLE sanctuary. Murals of the Cavs in action, the Cleveland skyline, mascots, and hometown glory line the walls and appear proudly across t-shirts, hoodies, and baseball caps. We’ve seen Cleveland pride in the form of jerseys and browns fan’s war paint, but there’s nothing else quite like what Greg and his team have created in their Lakewood-based shop. Rather than cloning another jersey or mascot into their apparel, Greg and his team design unique graphics for each piece, fusing a love for all things CLE with original artwork.
“Growing up, there were two things I was really interested in and that’s art and sports” Greg tells me. “I watched my brother draw, tried to emulate what he was doing.” So, artistic roots lead Greg to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). However, with no real sports programs at CIA or even a group of students to play sports with, Greg decided he needed to transfer schools. A year later, he began classes at CSU. He was able to play division one basketball while pursuing a degree in graphic design at Cleveland State, developing both his passions for creating art and playing sports. In 2007, Greg graduated and launched into the world of professional sports: as a photographer and artist for Browns players. All this time, Greg paired with his dad and brother George selling “Cleveland That I Love” t-shirts out of his parents’ home.
About two years ago, the demand for the Cleveland art the Vlosich family was creating became too huge to continue working out of a basement. GV Art & Design was born just down the road from Greg’s parents’ home – a truly home-grown business. While maintaining strong roots here in Cleveland, the GV team has been designing for nearly 100 NFL players, George has been a guest on “Oprah” and “Late Night with David Letterman,” they’ve worked with many national brands, and have their work on display around the country. They’ve even opened up a second shop on the East Side in downtown Willoughby. “We get people coming in for one day to watch a browns game from places like Florida and they say ‘this was a must stop on our visit.’” Even with such national recognition, Greg and his family have remained dedicated to their hometown, the Cleveland that they love.
“Each shirt is a piece of art or some strong statement” says Greg. Each design is carefully thought out and the designers view each piece like a canvas – even the t-shirts. But it’s more than that; GV Art and Design is about community, family, and a love for your hometown. This is a thriving small business but also an artistic space. It’s a place where art, sports, and community are used to bring people from all over Cleveland and abroad together. It’s a one of a kind CLE experience, and you simply must be there.
This article appeared in the February issue of The Vindicator. The online version of the issue is here!