A parallel Worlds

Sunday December 12 2010 / Art & Design

Willard Wigan’s micro-sculptures have been described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and have proved that in the art world something very small can be very big News. These extremely detailed micro-sculptures are so small that they cannot be seen without the use of a high-powered microscope.

There may be many rich men who are happy to see camels passing through teh eye of a needle

The journey to becoming a micro-sculptor began in Wigan’s childhood, where he struggled with his schooling because of dyslexia. Wigan wanted to create something that would allow him to escape the harsh criticism of his teachers (he still has trouble reading and writing). As his works evolved, Willard gained respect and notoriety from fans and critics alike.

The subjects of Wigan's work range from popular culture to architecture and the sculptor often refers in his work to other artists and historical events. Amongst his most famous works are a minute reproduction of Michelangelo's David, carved out of a single grain of sand and a miniature version of the Lloyd's Building in London.
On average it takes Wigan about eight weeks to complete one sculpture and there is an enormous personal sacrifice involved in his working process. Because the works are so minute, the pulse of the artist's finger could easily destroy the entire work. Wigan therefore has to control his nervous system to ensure he does not make even the tiniest movement. Wigan, when working, enters a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce any hand tremors and work between heartbeats.

To carve his figures, Wigan uses surgical blades or hand-made tools, (some of which are custom made out of a sharpened microscopic sliver of Tungsten), which he makes by attaching a shard of diamond to a pin. The sculptures themselves are made of a wide range of materials. Wigan uses for instance nylon, grains of sand, dust fibres, gold and spider's cobweb, depending on the demands of the piece he is working on. To paint his creations, Wigan often uses a hair from a (naturally) dead housefly, stressing that no flies are killed for or during the artistic process.

Wigan has recently created a miniature sculpture representing the Obama family and has carved a statue of astronaut Buzz Aldrin in the eye of a needle, in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the lunar landing.

Works can be as small as 0.005 mm (0.0002") and some of his most recent works do not exceed the size of a human blood cell. In July 2007 Willard Wigan was honoured by HRH the Prince of Wales with an MBE for his services to art.
Private owners of Wigan’s work include Prince Charles, Sir Elton John, TV star Simon Cowell,  and Mike Tyson.

For more information, please visit http://wiganart.com/

Suggested by
Maximilian Büsser