Willard Wigan, a British artist, creates one of the world’s most mind-boggling masterpieces by sculpting the tiniest handmade sculptures.
Even though Willard has sculpted for sixty years, you could hold all his works in one hand.
He uses a microscope and homemade tools like hypodermic needles, shards of diamonds, and human eyelashes to craft his art. These tools are so small they are almost invisible to the naked eye.
Willard started sculpting at age five to avoid mockery from his elementary school teachers and peers. Wigan experienced discrimination as a child due to his dyslexia and autism.
He started making miniature sculptures with astounding precision, utilizing his introversion and high mental attention, per Far Out.
He said his initial motivation for making such tiniest handmade sculptures was probably to deflect criticism. Mockery or criticism cannot hurt him if people can’t see his art.
Willard’s sculptures gradually shrunk in scale throughout the years, but they more than made up for them in creative beauty.
In 2009, he was invited to appear as a guest on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” to present his work.
By the early 2000s, when Willard was in his mid-30s, he had started to establish himself through prestigious exhibitions.
His tiniest handmade sculptures frequently rest on the end or eye of a needle. He is well known for his rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” in which he fit within the tiny eye of a needle, with each disciple roughly the width of a human hair, for scale.
Most of Willard’s creations are sculpted using microscopic sand or microfibers and a tiny, needle-like chisel held up to a microscope. On such a small scale, he said, even the rhythm of the heartbeat must be considered, and complacency may ruin a sculpture.
That being said, he has learned to regulate his breathing, heart rate, and neurological system to guarantee he does not disturb the delicate artwork in any way. By calming his mind and emotions via meditation, he can lessen the shaking in his hands.
“Sometimes I find myself in unpleasant situations where a fly may have flown under the microscope, and the breeze from the fly’s wings may blow one of my sculptures away,” says Willard. “My artwork drives me crazy,” he admitted. “But the glory is when I finish it when other people see it.”
His work means a lot to him, but it is not a stress-free profession. Wigan will often spend many weeks laboring at a single sculpture for up to 17 hours per day.
“Because of my autism, which allows me to have an extremity of intensive behavior, I’ll use that behavior as fuel. If I never had this condition, I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Willard said.
In an interview, he candidly shared that he accidentally inhaled an “Alice in Wonderland” sculpture when his phone went off while working, and he lost another between his fingerprints.
Willard holds two official world records for the tiniest handmade sculptures. His first world record was for a little 24-karat gold motorcycle in 2013.
In 2017, he beat himself again by building a human embryo out of carpet fiber, setting a new world record. The sculpture was 0.05388 mm (53.88 microns) wide and was housed inside a strand of Wigan’s beard hair that had been hollowed out, according to Guinness World Records.
He was also honored for his work in art and sculpting with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and a Doctor of Arts (DA) degree.
Willard presented the Queen with a miniature replica of her crown that fits on the tip of a 2mm pin as a token of his appreciation.
Every gallery hosting an exhibition of his work provides microscopes so visitors can examine the piece’s intricate features up close.
Wigan showed off a little Ant-Man sculpture and some of his other scaled-down art during the London premiere of Ant-Man in 2015.
Additionally, Willard engages in fundraising and collaborations. One of his creations is a miniature guide dog that was auctioned off to benefit the education of guide dogs for the visually impaired, according to Nerdist.
He also has an online store with a selection of his tiniest handmade sculptures, where you can buy a Nike trainer in the eye of a needle worth £87,000 ($108,148), a 24 Carat Gold, handmade dragon with jewel eyes worth £1,000,000 ($1,243,085).
His autism and dyslexia were seen as weaknesses in the classroom, but he could turn them into strengths when he created his small world. After people found out about his unique talent, his one-of-a-kind works are now sought after by art collectors, Fifth Avenue South noted.
“Remember, always see the little things as they often make the biggest impact, and tell your students never to accept that they can not achieve greatness. We were all born to be great, not to be nothing,” says Willard.
Watch Willard Wigan’s interview about his tiniest handmade sculptures below:
You can follow Willard on his Facebook page and website.
Tuesday 25th of April 2023
Monday 24th of April 2023