Cleveland native designs attire for Cavaliers, main sports activities staff

Jay Wallace is someone who loves Cleveland and with his work he hopes to trace his path into the history of the city – one design at a time.

CLEVELAND – From the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Columbus Crew, the amount of thought that goes into the aesthetics of a professional sports team is immense. Typically, a group of talented people is tasked with developing ideas from marketing materials to apparel.

For the Cavaliers, one of those people is Cleveland-born Jay Wallace. You can’t make out his name, but you are probably familiar with his work.

“Regular Cavs branded apparel like t-shirts, hats, shooting shirts, basically anything fans and players wear, there’s a good chance I was a part of it,” explains Wallace.

Growing up Wallace always had a knack for creation, but no idea how to turn his passion into a career.

“As African Americans in the arts, we don’t always necessarily know how to encourage that … ‘What is your adult life of drawing and painting?'” Wallace said.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding a creative career path, Wallace knew he wanted to pursue what he was passionate about. With his mother’s blessing, he left Cleveland in 2008 to study illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design.

After graduating from Fine Arts, Wallace returned to Cleveland in 2012 to pursue his career. To get the ball rolling, he started posting his work on social media.

“It wasn’t like, my gosh, like attracting any noteworthy person’s attention, it really was just a release,” recalls Wallace.

But his work caught the attention of important people and helped him secure jobs with Marcus Thomas, the Cleveland Browns, the Columbus Crew, and now the Cavaliers.

“I’ve been blessed to work for the teams I saw as a kid. “How much better can you get?” He ponders.

But the journey wasn’t always easy for Wallace. In 2016, he applied and interviewed his current position and was turned down, but that didn’t put him off.

“I think a lot of people want things right away, and you know that sometimes it doesn’t work that way.”

He encourages other artists to stay on course and keep creating.

“If you feel like you are not doing justice, do everything possible to create your own experience,” he encouraged.

Most recently, Wallace’s work can be seen in the middle of downtown Cleveland. Together with Daniel Arsham, the two brought to life the “For love, for the country” banner of the Sherwin Williams building.

“It just looked a lot better than it did on my computer,” Wallace recalled after seeing the banner in person for the first time.

Jay Wallace is someone who loves Cleveland and with his work he hopes to trace his path into the history of the city – one design at a time.

“I’m sure any city will revive after a pandemic, and I just want to be a part of it,” Wallace says.

And while Jay is a self-proclaimed ambassador for Cleveland, he strives to use his talents beyond Ohio.

“I was able to become successful at home and that is great. Now we can even use these talents nationally or globally.

Black Light is a series by 3News Digital Reporter Kierra Cotton, which aims to uncover the hidden talent in the black community in northeast Ohio.

If you would like to suggest a role to Kierra, you can contact her by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.

Comments are closed.