About Lilia Munn

Lilia is a 20-year-old Ukrainian-American artist, entrepreneur, inventor, and collaborator who uses an eyegaze communication system to create beautiful and unique works of art using her eyes. Lilia leverages several software programs on her device to create digital art with unique colors, textures, patterns and digital effects. As an entrepreneur, she has pioneered the idea of extending eyegaze art to wearable products.

Inspiration as an Artist

Lilia visualizes color schemes of a mood, emotion or memory in her head and then seeks to represent them with her eyes. She derives inspiration from the world around her: a night time firework display at Disneyland inspired Disney at Night, an abstract spectacle that bursts into existence on the ebony canvas of the night. An exhibition by Yayoi Kusama inspired Molecular Activity, where patterns emerge, circle upon circle- a rhythmic motif that marries the scientific with the spiritual. Lilia spends many hours layering her digital art with various colors, shapes and effects until she feels it is complete. As demonstrated by the progressing variations of Geometric Play, her art transforms and evolves along a creative journey, often producing multiple unique works of art along the way. If the eyes are the window to the soul, then Lilia bears hers with each piece that she creates.

Like Ukrainian artists before her who have fought oppression, Lilia fights to break through the physical limitations caused by her disability to create her art. The vibrant abstractions of Maria Primachenko and bold shapes of Sonia Delaunay have inspired her aesthetics and strengthened her voice artistically.  Maria Primachenko’s declaration- “I have created a new kind of beauty, an abstract beauty of forms and colors that is alive with rhythm and movement”- resonates profoundly with the ethos behind Visual Symphony, an abstract embodiment of an entire orchestral experience, that Lilia captured not in notes and timbres but in color, form, and texture across a sprawling canvas.  Embracing Primachenko’s conviction that “Art is a language that transcends words and speaks directly to the heart,” Lilia finds her voice within the silent poetry of her own creations. Primachenko's words hold a mirror to Lilia's own creative process, where each piece that Lilia crafts becomes a heartfelt articulation of emotions and thoughts unbound by the limits of spoken language. 

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Lilia also drew inspiration from Walt Disney.  After visiting the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco's Presidio during a middle school field trip, she was impressed to learn that Mr. Disney was not only an artist but also an entrepreneur, inventor and collaborator. His invention of "storyboarding" and collaboration with Salvador Dali were extremely inspiring to Lilia and opened her eyes to the possibilities available to a visionary artist. This inspired her to host her first art exhibit while she was in middle school, where Lilia displayed the art that she made with her hands before eyegaze art technology became available to her. Lilia knew then that she wanted a future in art.  Since her voice is not available as a method of expression, expressing herself through art is essential to her emotional wellbeing.

In addition to creating art, Lilia has been receiving twice weekly art instruction for the past three years from her mentor and teacher, Professor Jason Hopkins (MFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago).  Under his wing, she studied the history of art, explored the works of famous artists and their influence on art, and delved into the functions of digital software, learning to visually control this technology. Lilia has drawn inspiration from her mentor’s ability to create an artistically fulfilling life for himself where academia, artistic expression and business are balanced. Professor Hopkins proclaims, 

"Her works hearken to abstract expressionists like Pollock and de Kooning, exhibiting a personal, improvisational emotional experience that champions the non-representational through nontraditional means.  But unlike her predecessors working in a tactile world, Lilia’s spontaneous action and color-field painting is entirely digital, made not from hand but by eye.  In this way, she subverts the process of “hand-eye coordination,” “willing” her colors, textures, and patterns into being, pushing pixels around like finger paints in a psychologically more immediate and intimate way. She is a virtual pioneer, championing the liberties of the creative soul, while Romantically defying disability and torpor."

Innovations as an Entrepreneur 

Lilia’s creative endeavors do not stop at her artwork. She holds three provisional patents for her inventions that she is actively converting into final patents. Though she currently uses existing eyegaze art software programs on three different eyegaze systems, she is also collaborating with a software engineer to design and develop her own proprietary eyegaze digital art software program that offers a greater variety of digital features in a user-friendly manner for visual access.  In this way, she is also revolutionizing eyegaze art technology.

Lilia is a unique artist because Rett Syndrome has left her unable to walk, talk or use her hands functionally. Thus, Lilia creates her artwork independently with her eyes and her team collaborates with Lilia to translate it into wearable art. She chooses product designs, materials, colors, shapes, textures, etc and the team members bring it to life. 

Starting with jewelry, Lilia has designed several different collections, which her team then assembles by hand. Each unique piece of jewelry holds carefully selected parts of Lilia's eyegaze art in order to highlight the incredible details of her creations. Lilia has explored a wide range of jewelry-making mediums, selecting materials such as sterling silver, gold, leather, glass beads, precious gemstones, and stainless steel in order to create different aesthetics for each collection. Additionally, her team is actively working to elevate her jewelry to the next level, exploring fire-enameling, 3D printing, and other emerging experimental technologies. Some of Lilia's most impressive jewelry displays are shown below.  

With the recent launch of the Basse Couture Collection, Lilia is also delving into fashion design by extending her eyegaze art to fabrics and wearables. As a natural extension of her wearable art concept, Lilia's newest collection Basse Couture features her eyegaze work on various types of everyday accessories and apparel. The products, such as bucket hats, bandanas, fanny packs, tote bags, and iPhone cases, are all items that Lilia and her team use on a daily basis, which makes this new wearable art form even more accessible to Lilia's customers. Lilia features larger sections of her eyegaze art on these products, which gives the wearer and onlookers a bigger picture view of her designs. What's more, each product comes in five different colors and designs, each featuring one of Lilia's most popular pieces of eyegaze art. You can see a few examples of the Basse Couture collection below or click here to browse the entire collection. 

In collaboration with her team, Lilia promotes her business through social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok; at exhibitions like the Piedmont Artwalk; and through collaborations with other companies and organizations like Billy Footwear, Trexo Robotics and the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. BILLY Footwear is launching Lilia’s BILLY shoes in the first quarter of 2024 with her artwork printed on their shoe canvas. Lilia will be promoting these new shoes and her own jewelry and wearable art clothes collection while walking in her Trexo Robotics robot along the ocean in Santa Monica. This collaboration will be featured and advertised in the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Magazine with international distribution.

Ultimately, Lilia hopes that her unique struggle as an artist inspires others to achieve their greatest potential and overcome their personal obstacles to achievement.  While she may be orthopedically disabled today, Lilia is on the list to receive corrective gene therapy within the next few years.