Willard Wigan, MBE (born June 1957) is a British sculptor from Ashmore Park Estate, Wednesfield, England, the son of Jamaican immigrants, who makes micro miniature sculptures. His sculptures are typically placed in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin. A single sculpture can be as small as 0.005 mm (0.0002 in).[1]

Willard Wigan
Wigan in 2019
BornJune 1957 (age 66–67)
Ashmore Park Estate, Wednesfield, England
Known forSculpture
MovementMicro miniature

Life and work edit

As a child with dyslexia and Asperger syndrome,[2] neither of which were diagnosed until adulthood,[3] Willard Wigan was ridiculed in class by his primary school teachers for not learning to read.[4][5] Wigan attributes his early drive in sculpting, which began at the age of five, to his need to escape from the derision of teachers and classmates.[4] He wanted to show the world that nothing did not exist, deducing that if people were unable to view his work, then they would not be in any position to criticise it. Wigan has since aimed to make even smaller artworks, visible only with a microscope.

In July 2007 he was made an MBE.[6]

On 3 February 2016 Wigan was a guest on BBC Radio 4's Midweek programme.[7]

On 5 September 2017 Wigan's was recognized by Guinness World Records as having created the smallest hand-made sculpture in the world, it measured 0.078 by 0.053 millimeters and depicted a human foetus.[8] This record beat his prior record set in 2013 when he made a 24-carat gold motorbike imbedded into a human hair.[9]

In January 2018 Willard Wigan received an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick in recognition of the significant contributions that he has made to art and sculpture.

Exhibitions and American tour edit

In 2004, Wigan exhibited at The Artlounge gallery in Birmingham. The BBC's Inside Out - South West noted that the works displayed included "scenes of Jesus Christ and The Last Supper, with each individual figure no bigger than an eyelash or a human hair. At less than a hundredth of an inch tall, it's painstakingly precise work".[10]

In 2009 Wigan appeared as a guest speaker at the TED Conference in Oxford, UK.[11] and later that year also as a guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien[12] in the US.

After a series of exhibitions in the UK, during 2009 and 2010 Wigan toured the US.[13]

Wigan marked the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II by sculpting the Queen's portrait on a coffee bean; he described creating the work as "a bit of a challenge because a coffee bean crumbles and is hollow in the middle".[14]

The Library of Birmingham exhibited his works in January 2015.[15] In 2010, the BBC reported that Wigan had sculpted a model of St Bartholomew's church in Chosen Hill, Gloucestershire on a grain of sand that he had taken from its churchyard. He had done so in response to a challenge from his girlfriend, who described the result as "absolutely fantastic". The vicar of the church said the sculpture was beautiful, but Wigan expressed his own dissatisfaction with the work, saying "As small as what you've seen, it's not the best of me yet, I'm taking it even smaller because I'm not satisfied with my work right now, it's too big."[16]

In 2022, Willard was a judge on the show The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge, in which competitors created miniature furniture.[17]

References edit

  1. ^ Strassmann, Mark (10 March 2010). "Willard Wigan's Micro Art". CBS Sunday Morning. CBS News. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Interview with record-breaking artist Willard Wigan | Channel 4". Channel 4. Retrieved 3 August 2020. I had Asperger's, which wasn't diagnosed until later in life, but I knew I was different.
  3. ^ Saunders, Tristram Fane (3 July 2018). "Meet the artist making millions from sculptures you can barely see". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 August 2020. [Wigan's] autism and severe dyslexia would not be diagnosed until he was an adult.
  4. ^ a b "Willard Wigan – Artist". The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Yale University. 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  5. ^ Lady Bracknell (10 April 2006). "Dyslexia made me big in tiny art". BBC Online. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  6. ^ "The tiny world of Willard Wigan, nano sculptor", Telegraph.co.uk, 7 July 2007, accessed 23 July 2007
  7. ^ "Midweek: Dame Joan Bakewell, Willard Wigan, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Gary Clarke". BBC Radio 4. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Smallest hand-made sculpture". Guinness World Records. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  9. ^ Cullen, Charlotte (6 January 2022). "Meet the creator of the smallest micro art in history". euronews. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Though the Eye of a Needle". BBC Online. 20 September 2004. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  11. ^ Willard Wigan: Hold your breath for micro-sculpture, TED Conference, July 2009.
  12. ^ Micro Sculptor Willard Wigan, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
  13. ^ ""USA Tour Dates" at willard-wigan.com". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Micro-portrait of the Queen carved onto a coffee bean". BBC News Online. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  15. ^ "Willard Wigan micro-sculptures on show in Birmingham". BBC News Online. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Sculptor carves Gloucestershire church in sand grain". BBC News Online. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  17. ^ Humax, TheVersion co With (30 March 2022). "The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge: Interview with Sandi Toksvig and judges Willard Wigan MBE & Laura Jackson". The Version. Retrieved 4 May 2022.

External links edit