Spotlight #3: Emonee LaRussa

There's something special about art that juxtaposes delightful visual palettes with substantive subject matter. I was first tipped off to Emonee LaRussa's work from my friend Jeff Nicholas, who shared a 2D/3D animated piece she had created (in collaboration with @johnbashyam) titled "Wanna Feel Better?"

The retro vibe, handheld camera work, and perfect loop in this piece drew me in. Pretty soon, I found myself watching the video repeatedly, focusing on a different element each time. It wasn't until those multiple viewings that I began appreciating the piece as a commentary on the internet and our culture’s obsession with growth, wealth, and acceptance. My first bidding war and 2.75 eth later, I was now the proud owner of this wonderful piece. And as many times as I’ve watched the loop since then, I still discover new details to appreciate.

It takes a special kind of artist to create the type of remarkable art that Emonee LaRussa creates. You don’t get to work with artists like Kanye West otherwise. However, having spoken to her and observing her moves in this space, what's more remarkable is the type of person she is. You see, some artists create art, while others go beyond to create artists.

Emonee is the quintessential example of the latter, more impactful type of artist. This is exemplified by her dedication to helping expand the table of this space to drive greater diversity, representation, and fidelity to culture. She is using her success as a platform to drive generational impact. As a person I respect and admire deeply in this space, t was an absolute pleasure conducting this interview with her.

Who are you?

My name is Emonee LaRussa, I am a 2x Emmy Award Winning motion graphics artist and director. I predominantly create music visuals for artists like Meg Thee Stallion, HER, Kanye West, Lil Nas X and more!

What’s your NFT origin story?

I discovered NFT’s at the beginning of 2021 when I truly had so many different set plans for the year. NFT’s hit my life so hard in a very great way! I’m super grateful for what NFT’s have provided for me and my look on my future of art.

What’s been the most important thing you've learned since entering the space?

The most important thing is to genuinely have love and patience for yourself. Putting your digital art in the world for others to value can be hard on your heart but having that compassion for yourself allows you to appreciate every moment in the space.

What’s the story you’re trying to tell through your work?

I’ve always wanted people to feel happy, I want people to feel such a strong emotion of joy when they see my art like “DAMN that was so awesome” because that’s how I feel when I see art.


Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

I constantly get inspiration from so many illustrators and motion designers I see on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit! Seriously, I always try to break down how did they do that! I’m always trying to learn new techniques.

You recently launched Jumpstart Designers, a non-profit aimed at providing design resources to kids in underserved communities. What drove you to do that?

I always wanted to make music videos since I was a kid and it wasn’t until I was in high school that I really dove into working in After Effects in my film class. I begged my mom for my own laptop. We went to the store and at checkout, her card was declined. Months went by and my mom was able to surprise me with a simple 300 dollar laptop. (I have a photo in my high school’s newspaper for most likely to win an artist award. ) This laptop started my career. Which got me thinking, how many kids never got that laptop. It’s not fair. There’s so much talent out there that deserves to be recognized.

If you could collaborate with any artist in the space who would it be?

Geez, there so so many artists I would love to collaborate with I don’t even know where to start! DeeKay, FEWOCiOUS, Shantell Martin just to name a few!

Who's one artist you're a fan of that you feel is currently being slept on by the community?

Shay the Surrealist I feel like is an absolute gold mine! Her work is amazing!!

What's next for you?

Something that is 3 months in the making! I have collaborated with 5 amazing artists to create 6 super cool NFTs that 100% of our sales are going into the non-profit. These pieces are by far the best things I’ve ever worked on!

Thanks for your time, Emonee. Take care!

To stay updated on what Emonee has in store, be sure to follow her on Twitter. \n You can also view her work on Foundation.

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