Meet Emonee LaRussa, The Digital And Visual Artist Taking The NFT World By Storm
Emonee LaRussa started her career as a motion graphics artist, then made visuals for Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign and the Internet. Today, her colorful, psychedelic animations are part of the GRAMMYS x OneOf NFT partnership.
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Around the time of the GRAMMY Awards in 2021, Emonee LaRussa sold her first NFT. This took the 27-year-old digital artist from Sacramento, California, by surprise. Despite her popular motion graphics work for music and engaging personality on her fast-paced YouTube tutorials, LaRussa didn't think anyone would want to buy a NFT just for the sake of owning her digital art.
One year later, LaRussa was a natural choice as one of three digital artists to create the first NFTs as part of GRAMMYs and OneOf's NFT partnership. The partnership brings together cutting-edge digital artists to the Recording Academy to create NFTs to commemorate the 64th, 65th and 66th GRAMMY Awards. These NFTs are the first time the general public will be able to own a piece of the GRAMMY Awards.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are a way to productize digital files by assigning them a certificate of title. Musicians usually collaborate with a digital visual artist to create a limited edition audio/visual digital object on which fans can bid. Depending on demand, the final bids can be quite high, making NFTs a potentially lucrative source of income.
LaRussa's distinctive animation style lends itself nicely to the GRAMMY x OneOf NFTs. Her characterful, exaggerated figures meld psychedelia with a classic cartoon aesthetic that's buoyed by bright, saturated colors.
Prior to exclusively creating NFTs, LaRussa made music visuals for Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, FKA Twigs, Jhene Aiko, and John Legend, among many others. LaRussa became a familiar face to young, potential digital artists of color who saw a possible future for themselves in her. LaRussa also founded Pamanama, an animation studio specializing in music visuals created by a diverse group of digital artists, specifically artists of color.
LaRussa spoke to GRAMMY.com about her trajectory in the digital art space, her nonprofit, JumpStart Designers, and the NFT she created for the 2022 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards.