Willard Wigan is a god of small things. Literally. He’s a sculptor whose work is almost indecipherable to the naked eye. His micro sculptures can fit on the head of a pin, in the eye of a needle or along the shaft of an eyelash. His tools are custom: lint becomes a building material; the hair off of a housefly becomes a brush. His greatest tool is his microscope, which magnifies his artworks up to 600 times so Wigan is able to see what he’s doing. And even then, it’s not enough. One sneeze or one inhale and poof! An artwork that takes up to 8 weeks to complete-upwards of 500 hours-could be gone in an instant. To be able to work so minutely, takes a calm spirit and a steady hand. For this reason, Wigan is able to slow his heartbeat, and do the most vigorous sculpting in between the beats of his own heart.
The joy of discovering his work is mirrored by Wigan’s choice of subject matter. The Statue of Liberty still has a certain heft, even if she rests in the eye of a needle; Homer Simpson balances on the head of a pin, perpetually strangling Bart; a tiny Red-Riding-Hood greets a wolfish grandmother, and the Mona Lisa herself—measuring 1mm square—rests in the left eye of an exact replica of the original Mona Lisa, painted by UK artist, John Myatt. This startling work, finished in 2017, bridges centuries of art history, multiple art genres and calls to mind several modern cultural theories on one canvas. It’s Andy Warhol infiltrating Da Vinci and creating an utterly unique art piece.
Wigan has earned high praise from well-known collectors including Elton John, tennis player, David Lloyd, and Prince Charles, who bestowed Wigan with membership into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). With his uncompromising dedication, Wigan developed the ability to turn ‘nothing’ into something extraordinary. “Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist,” discerns Wigan.
Member, Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, 2007
Honorary Doctorate, University of Warwick, UK, 2018