Willard Wigan is an artist, or to be more exact a micro artist. The 57 year old sculptor, who was awarded the MBE by the Queen last year, produces pieces of work which are all but invisible unless you view them under a microscope. Put it this way, his entire 102 piece collection, painstakingly created over 40 years, could fit into a single matchbox…oh and it’s insured by Lloyds of London for £11.2 million.
He calls himself a micro-miniaturist – which is something of an understatement really isn’t it? – and has to create micro tools, use a microscope and do his carving in between pulse beats so his finger is steady enough. We’re talking painted figures which can be 3 x smaller than a full stop. Yeah read that again. Unbelievable stuff.
Wigan creates his sculptures in an isolated studio in Jersey, far removed from the public eye or potentially disastrous traffic vibrations, using tiny home-made tools. “I have to put myself in a sort of meditative state to do it,” he says. “I need to work between heartbeats, or else the pulse in my finger will cause a mistake. I’ll grind down a piece of tungsten to make a little hook which can grip the material, or shove a fragment of broken diamond into the tip of a needle to make a micro scalpel blade.”