3D artist Ben Fearnley brilliantly transforms emoji into historical sculptures

See what happens when you mix a modern phenomenon with antiquated aesthetics.


Emoji are a modern invention and symbol of the digital age. The small icons of facial expressions are sent in our everyday messages or Instagram captions. Emoji usually have a comical, yellow glow to them and their cartoonish exaggerations give life to our written messages.

But what happens when you mix such a modern phenomenon with antiquated aesthetics and materials?

3D artist and designer Ben Fearnley, from New York City design studio Vault49, approached this interesting concept by creating a series of 3D, CG 'sculptmojis' – playing on the mix of traditional sculpture art forms and modern emoji.

As a self-initiated project, Ben transforms an array of emoji into Roman and Greek-like sculptures made of marble, bronze, silver and gold – materials mostly seen within the four walls of a museum and associated with historical artefacts. His series creates a jarring, yet intriguing, visual experience of the old and new coming together.

Take this bronze sculpture for example, of a happy emoji taking a seflie, yet attached to the chiseled physique of a Greek god.

Ben has shared his sculptmojis to his Instagram account to a positive response.


 Ben's series reminds us of a similar concept by CG artist Andrei Lacatusu, who reduced global tech giants such as Facebook and Instagram to derelict neon signs, cementing digital brands into real world environments.

Ben specialises in CG illustration and typography. He’s originally form the UK and is now based in New York, working for clients such as Apple, BBC, adidas and Android with Vault49. He previously worked for Love Creative in the UK.

See more of his sculptmoji in this feature.  

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