Fluffy rabbits in lethal jewellery? Inside Abel Emmanuel’s 3D world, anything is possible

The artist has been impressing us with his incredible technical skill for glossy, digital 3D sculptures.

31 May 2023

There is something endlessly engrossing about the work of Abel Emmanuel, a 3D artist based in South Africa. His work is part-saccharine, part-experimental and part-punk. Take, for example, his rendering of a beautiful bunny in the clouds marked by the distinct techno-metallic spike collar around its neck.

Although only at the start of his career, Abel’s portfolio could be mistaken for that of an experienced veteran. Every concept is fully realised, with a clear point of view. By using the software Blender (particularly with Octane Render Engine), he conjures shiny 3D art that’s originally sculpted and textured in Zbrush and Substance Painter. “As a transgender man I use art as an escape from my gender dysphoria,” Abel tells us. “For the appreciation of art, no uniformity is necessary, so I cannot say that my work is a form of self-expression these days.”

While Abel has his favourite motifs (“fluffy animals, beautiful women of colour, H R Geiger-inspired sculptures”), he’s pivoting into new territory. “I really want to work with creative directors in the K-Pop industry, especially with Aespa, EXO and NewJeans,” he says. With a portfolio like this, we’re sure any of those bands would be lucky to have him.


Abel Emmanuel: boom boom boom (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2023)


Abel Emmanuel: diamond encrusted corset (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2023)


Abel Emmanuel: bunbun fiend (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2023)


Abel Emmanuel: ICE BEE (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2021)


Abel Emmanuel: flower power (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2022)


Abel Emmanuel: Blue Eyes White Dragon (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2022)


Abel Emmanuel: karina 4 fiend (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2023)


Abel Emmanuel: baby fiend collar (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2022)


Abel Emmanuel: sañros (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2022)


Abel Emmanuel: Broken Covenant (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2023)

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Abel Emmanuel: ditto (Copyright © Abel Emmanuel, 2023)

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About the Author

Joey Levenson

Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.

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