coiski: Having done other artwork around the Cleveland and having such strong ties to the city, where does this rank on the list of projects you have worked on?
GV Design: Oh, I don’t know. I’ve done a lot in the city. I have one at the Cleveland Browns Stadium, and that was with their top 15 guys all from Etch-a-Sketch. So, I took the line work from the Etch-a-Sketch and just put color and painting behind it. I did one for a casino here in town and then one for the Sports Commission. There’s a painting at the Indians Stadium too. Coming up, I am doing two paintings for the University of Akron. I just love to see people take pictures by them; that has such an impact on me.
coiski: Although he recently left for the Lakers, what has it been like having LeBron play in Cleveland?
GV Design: When he initially got drafted, it was crazy. He’s from the city; he grew up here and everybody had followed him from the start. So him being here – and having success here – transformed the organization and the city itself. Then, it was pretty awesome when he came back the second time and was able to go to four straight NBA Finals and bring a championship to Cleveland. It really united the city. It was just a great time, and it took Cleveland from the butt of everybody’s jokes to everyone cheering for city. It was pretty awesome!
coiski: If you could describe Cleveland in one word, what would it be?
GV Designs: Underrated. I think Cleveland is very underrated. The people that know about it are like, ‘Wow, Cleveland is really cool.’ We have great food, top-notch art museums, the orchestra, three major sports teams and you can travel the city and not get bogged down with traffic. It’s a great, little city!
coiski: Obviously, LeBron is and will always be connected with the city of Cleveland, what is it like knowing that you are forever tied to this incredible story?
GV Designs: It’s a really cool feeling because I am creating something that’s going to last for a really long time, and to be a part of the community and have a lasting impression on people, is really cool. It’s a lot of fun. As a kid growing up, I would get yelled at in art class because I would often draw sports. My teacher told me sports isn’t art. The fact that I am able to do it now as an adult and support my family by doing it, is pretty special. I am definitely blessed.