A native of Birmingham, England, Willard Wigan has spent his whole life thinking small. Since the age of five, when he began building houses for ants, Wigan has obsessively produced microsculptures, fully sculpted scenes far too small to be seen with the naked eye. “I wanted to do the smallest biggest thing ever,” Wigan says.
He has produced more than a hundred scenes, including the characters of the Wizard of Oz, The Lloyd’s of London building, and the Statue of Liberty, all of which could fit comfortably on the head of a pin.
“People think of it as a trick or an illusion,” he says. They’re simply seeing the apex of human patience and skill.
Making microsculptures requires a nearly superhuman level of patience, skill, and also training. To avoid any false moves, Wigan says he taught himself to slow his heart rate and then move only between the beats. To develop perfectly smooth hand motion, he practiced balancing ball bearings on his fingertips.
Wigan works in isolated places or at night, because even the vibrations caused by cars driving by outside can interfere with his work. Despite all his care, he still accidentally swallowed several sculptures while making them.
“The process is not enjoyable,” he says of his art.
All Images ©Willard Wigan