“When you see people with disbelief on their face, not being able to kind of explain what they’re seeing, that gives me so much pleasure," shared the artist.
Willard Wigan is an artist known for his miniature sculptures that can only be viewed through a microscope. His latest exhibition, “Miniature Masterpieces,” features 20 tiny sculptures, each sitting in the eye of a needle. The free exhibition is currently on display at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, England, per Smithsonian Magazine.
Wigan's miniature sculptures are incredibly detailed, despite their tiny size. To create them, he must use a microscope to better see the material he’s handling. He also only works between heartbeats to ensure that his pulse doesn't interfere with his work. Wigan uses his own unique tools, sometimes MacGyvering hypodermic needles or diamond shards so he can work on sculptures at such a small scale.
Small things matter is a movement of change, a community thinking a little differently. Inspired by my life story and art, it’s a simple concept. #smallthingsmatter #disappearing #diverse #world pic.twitter.com/dD7qZBIEFI— Dr Willard Wigan MBE (@willardwiganMBE) March 10, 2023
Wigan's artistic path was significantly influenced by his mother, who played a crucial role in his development. During his childhood, Wigan encountered difficulties in reading and writing, eventually attributed to his undiagnosed conditions of autism and dyslexia. As a coping mechanism, he sought solace in crafting minute sculptures, which caught the attention of his mother. She encouraged him to refine his technique, pushing him to create even smaller sculptures. According to the artist's blog, before her passing in 1995, she imparted to him the advice, "The smaller you make things, the bigger your name will become."
The Last Supper in the eye of a needle. Today is Maundy Thursday. Christians mark Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper, every year on the Thursday before Easter, April 6 #Easter #Easter2023 pic.twitter.com/PlpLMDLtKN— Dr Willard Wigan MBE (@willardwiganMBE) April 6, 2023
Wigan's art celebrates a unique perspective of the world. He hopes that his outreach program, which will take his Disappearing World collection to local Nottingham schools, will inspire environmentalism and highlight the threats facing biodiversity. The four new sculptures featured in "Miniature Masterpieces" are part of his Disappearing World collection, which seeks to convey a much bigger message through tiny sculptures.
It’s No Yolk! 😁😊 I made the world's smallest handmade Easter Egg back in 2012. The tiny egg is roughly one-seventh of the size of a pinhead, and sculpted from a tiny portion of a real Thornton’s easter egg #eastereggs #easter #sculpture #smallthingsmatter #smallthingsmattrs pic.twitter.com/vEKg5OIVGn— Dr Willard Wigan MBE (@willardwiganMBE) April 6, 2023
The exhibition also features some of Wigan's most famous works, including his miniature recreations of famous paintings like the "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper," as well as his depictions of famous figures like William Shakespeare and Robin Hood. These sculptures are a testament to Wigan's skill and dedication as an artist. Creating these sculptures is no easy feat. Wigan describes his work as more complicated than any microsurgery. Careless mistakes can put an end to weeks of progress, as he learned when he accidentally inhaled one of his sculptures while talking on the phone. To prevent such accidents, Wigan does breathing exercises before beginning work.
Before I disappear into the Willard Cave 🦇🔬🦹♂️, according to https://t.co/cfpgM9G8AI, on this day in 1952, Elizabeth II became Queen of England. So here's a selection of my former Queen of England micro sculptures. I wish everyone a positive and creative day 😊🙏 pic.twitter.com/dUKRGAPIDO— Dr Willard Wigan MBE (@willardwiganMBE) February 6, 2023
Despite the stress and difficulty of his work, Wigan finds joy in the reactions of others. “When you see people with disbelief on their face, not being able to kind of explain what they’re seeing, that gives me so much pleasure," he told CNN's Amarachi Orie. Wigan holds the record for the smallest hand-made sculpture ever created: a human embryo made from a fiber off of Wigan's carpet, according to Guinness World Records. It fits inside a hollowed-out strand of the artist's hair.
I never liked the big bad wolf story so I created the good wolf story, where all the pigs and the wolf go out for a picnic and have fun together 😁😂 Have a wonderful, creative weekend. Don't forget #smallthingsmatter in your life, at home, and to be successful 🙏 pic.twitter.com/DhPawbTJUd— Dr Willard Wigan MBE (@willardwiganMBE) March 24, 2023
Wigan's art is a testament to the power of creativity and the importance of seeing the world from new perspectives. His tiny sculptures are more than just works of art; they are reminders that small things matter and that we all have the ability to make a difference in the world. Wigan's miniature masterpieces are sure to leave a lasting impression on those who see them.