GV Art + Design: A Lakewood Institution

It’s no surprise that GV Art + Design quickly became the destination location for its "Cleve LAND that I LOVE" apparel and sports art. Founded and owned by the Vlosich family, GV’s roots run deep in the City of Lakewood. Mom and Dad, Gloria and George, raised their two sons right up the street (on Larchmont Ave.) from their retail store on Detroit.  Gloria, a teacher in Lakewood for over 40 years, and George, an advertising executive, made sure art and sports were a big part of George and Greg’s lives growing up attending the Lakewood schools.

Before a family vacation to Washington, D.C., in 1989 Gloria found her original Etch A Sketch from her Mom’s basement to entertain the boys on the long car ride. On the way to D.C., George created the U.S. Capitol building on the Etch A Sketch. Dad saw it and quickly pulled into a gas station to take a picture, before it got erased. George was 10 at the time.

George continued to Etch away. He created one-of-a-kind Etch-A-Sketch art of athletes, celebrities and even the President and Vice President who signed his work and invited his family to the White House, complete with a press conference. At 20 he was invited to speak at the Kennedy Center to Scholastic winners, being one of the top 3 winners nationally himself. He received local, national and even world attention from the little red toy he transformed into Pop art. George and his family were soon invited to appear on many news and talk shows, including Oprah, the Letterman Show, Jimmy Kimmel, Fox News, Disney, ESPN, CNN the BBC and more. 

After graduating from Lakewood High School, George attended the Cleveland Institute of Art and upon earning his degree in graphic design, went to work for one of the largest ad firms in Cleveland. While working and starting a family, he continued to perfect his etching skills and artwork.

After 15 years of being in the National spotlight and building a reputation for his artwork, George was commissioned in 2007 by the Cavs and Quicken Loans to film a youtube video in which he creates an Etch-A-Sketch of LeBron James. Dad wrote the rap song for the video and along with it, they designed their first t-shirt called "One Town. One Team. One Dream." The campaign showcased their talents as a group and was up for best viral video of the year. The video has had over 3 million views. An updated video was released in 2015 when the Cavs reached the Finals again.

Beginning in 2008 they started a pro Cleveland campaign called "Cleveland That I Love," selling shirts online and out of the family home. The response was overwhelming and the creativity continued. "CleveLAND that I LOVE" became more than just a shirt or slogan, it became a movement that helped spark the resurgence of Cleveland Pride. The Cleveland community and sports teams started to take notice along with the major companies across the country. The GV Art team was commissioned to create artwork for companies like University Hospital, Progressive, Cleveland Clinic, Disney, Fandango as well as 30-40 ft. murals, using the linework from the Etch A Sketch, for the Cleveland Convention Bureau, the Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Indians, and the JACK Casino.

Greg, a graduate of Cleveland State University and a Lakewood High recruit on the CSU basketball team, was impressing the sports world with his very detailed and realistic paintings and photography. Some of these pieces laid the ground work for many of GV’s t-shirts that have been created with several athletes from all of Cleveland’s Sports teams. These shirts are often designed with input from the athlete and proceeds are used to support the athlete’s charitable foundation.

As the business grew, the family business outgrew the house. Boxes of shirts suddenly filled each room. It was time to find a retail location and space. Staying true to Lakewood, the Vlosichs were excited to find a space down the street from their childhood home. In 2013, GV Art + Design opened their first store at 17411 Detroit Ave., across from St. James Church to a long line of GV fans waiting for the doors to open.

They were amazed to see the response the store received. Gloria, who was now retired and the family concentrated solely on increasing business and creating new t-shirt ideas, Etch-A-Sketch art, and murals. GV was commissioned by Sherwin Williams to create the 5th largest billboard in the country for their building in downtown Cleveland (only to be replaced by LeBron James upon his return to Cleveland).

Last year, with the success of the Cavs, the Indians, and the selection as the only t-shirt vendor for the Republican National Convention, people lined up outside of the Lakewood store for hours before the release of new t-shirts. It became evident, when the retail space started spilling into the office space, it was time to expand. AGAIN.

Wanting to stay close to home, they were pleased when the building across the street from their existing location became available. Not only was the location perfect, but it would allow GV to expand their storefronts from 2 to 4, to display more of their artwork, and to have a much larger creative space.  GV Art + Design opened their doors at 17128 Detroit Ave. in February 2017.

This new store and showroom, uniquely designed to showcase not only the t-shirts and apparel, but sections that are artistically dedicated to each of Cleveland’s Sports teams, the City itself, several area colleges, Lakewood High School, and every special occasion that comes and goes, it is a sight that everyone should see. The store has become a Cleveland Landmark with people visiting from all over to buy apparel and spend time in the store checking out the artwork and designs.

With the increase in space also comes the launch of several exciting things for GV Art + Design. New t-shirt lines will include a new brand “From Within,” an inspirational message teamed with several celebrities and individuals with inspiring stories. Also, the launch of CLE FIT, workout apparel inspired by Cleveland’s very fit running, yoga, biking and workout community.

In addition, the new store will host many special events, including a singer/songwriter workshop, fundraising events, yoga sessions, creative art seminars and much more. Just recently, 75 students from Harrison Elementary School came in for a tour and learned about how hard work and a dream can make anything possible. Giving back has always been a big part of what GV is about.

GV Art + Design feels blessed to call Lakewood their home and continues to be inspired by the many residents who support them on a regular and consistent basis. Be sure to follow GV Art on social media for announcements of exciting new t-shirt designs and upcoming events. 

Kelly Standish

Marketing/Outside Sales GV Art + Design

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 8:14 PM, 03.21.2017