Scrolling through Geoffrey Lillemon’s work, one unifying feature jumps out — absurdity. His creations are jarring, surreal and visually striking. Most importantly, they make you take a second look. “It's a reaction to glimpse culture,” the artist explains. “When we're endlessly scrolling through content that looks similar, a lot of the absurdity comes from introducing an element of bad taste, just so something gets noticed. You stop scrolling and you're like, ‘Oh, there's something different happening there.' That's very important to me.’"
Lillemon’s strategy has been successful — it's hard not to notice his work. And this approach has resulted in collaborations with the biggest names in both fashion (Gucci, Versace, Moncler and adidas to name a few) and music (Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj).
Working with brands, particularly in the NFT space is something that Lillemon is drawn to. "I use the commercial world as an art medium in itself," he explains. “Brands are part of internet culture, and the resulting work then becomes a collectable of the culture of our times”
Lillemon’s latest commercial project is one close to our heart — a Moon Boot x Highsnobiety NFT. As part of our collaboration with the Italian brand, we tapped the artist to make three works inspired by our Space Cowboy-inspired collection.
"Moon Boots, of course, are connected to the cosmos," Lillemon says when asked about the concept behind the work. "But I wanted to refresh the idea of outer space, using a white background instead of dark black."
Like his other pieces, these NFTs are rooted in the absurd. "The work focuses on a cowboy who's struggling to keep his off-the-beaten path lifestyle under control, because he's dealing with the lack of gravity on the moon," Lillemon explains.
Lillemon has been in the digital art world since he was a teenager, first playing with Flash on his family desktop computer. Or, as he puts it, “I've been in this world for a quarter of a century.” So as any digital artist or fan will know, Lillemon clearly didn’t get into the business for the money. Before the arrival of NFTs, it was almost a joke how little prospect a digital artist’s work had of selling. “I come from a community and a culture that was way before all of the [NFT] hype.” Lillemon says. “Everybody was doing it for the beauty of the art, but it was never sellable, there was no commercial intention.”
Clearly, that’s changed. With everyone from Gucci to Walmart making NFTs, the market is big business. Which for Lillemon, is only a good thing. “There's more fuel, there's more inspiration. Anytime the economy supports any industry, you get a lot more work, you get a lot more experimentation,” he says.
“We're starting to leave a tangible physical reality and start existing solely in these digital worlds. We're looking through our phones 90% of the day, so it only makes sense that artistic, emotional experiences are driven through a digital medium,” he continues.
But NFTs aren’t just a new technology, it’s a whole new community: “I can't rely on my past experience in digital art to play the NFT game, it's a whole different realm,” Lillemon says. The artist dove into Discord to really understand, and become part of the emerging scene. "You have a lot of digital artists that have been doing this for 20 years and they're just like, 'Why the fuck is some kid that's 19 years old, why did they just make a million and I've been doing this for 20 years and I've made 10 bucks?' And it's because of the participation in that network, in that community. There's a lot to learn from the younger generation."
Working entirely on the internet opens up new possibilities. Previously, a digital artist would still be beholden to curators and galleries and show their work in a physical space. Now, "you don’t have the constraint of physicality or materialism. You can make a piece of code that will generate millions of pieces of artwork," he says. At the same time, "you're on the internet, so your criticism and support is 10 million times bigger.”
The beginning of the NFT market is often described as a gold rush, something Lillemon echoes. "There was a certain stress because so much money was being passed around, it was like 'shit I have to get something up today otherwise I'm going to miss out.'"
When things settled down however, it became clear that this wasn't a passing fad. "This is here to stay, these kinds of transactions, this way of thinking is here to stay," he realized. Now really is the golden time for NFTs. Artists are comfortable enough that they're not putting out rushed work, and instead can push the parameters of the format.
"That's the exciting part of working with technology and art," he explains. "Looking at a medium and asking what are the constraints? What can we do to play with it, and have fun with it?" And whatever Lillemon is doing, it certainly looks fun.
Each one-of-one NFT will be auctioned for .025 ETH for 24 hours only. Check out images of the NFT above and head to SuperRare for full details around the release, dropping Monday, January 24.