Willard Wigan’s talent contrasts his disability
Skill, I was told by a mentor, cannot be denied. Willard Wigan is a nano-level microsculptor who has been creating intricate pieces since he was 5. As opposed to a miniature 3D printing machine, Wigan creates his art by hand. He carves, glues, and paints them. And they are astonishing!
How small? the smallest man-made objects in the world
- mounted inside a needle’s eye, or on the head of a pin
- paints with a hair from a fly
- uses tweezers made from eyelashes
- requires a 600x microscope to construct
- Guinness Book of World Records
- Royal M.B.E. title, from the Queen of England
- Sales in the MILLIONS for a single piece; $20 million for a collection
- $1.5 million dollar watch, with his sculpture inside
- Collectors include Elton John, Prince Charles, Simon Cowell
- TED talk
- Dyslexic; shamed for inability to read and write
- Autistic – Asperger’s Syndrome
- Fragile pieces can be easily lost, inhaled or blown away
Featured by The Voice this year about an autism awareness event, Wigan serves as an inspiration to both the disabled and the able-bodied.
His work validates the contributions of the disabled, who are often left out of society’s regard unless they are overachievers too.
This affects the self-esteem of the disabled. Wigan describes making small versions of his teachers, who made him feel small.
Yale University’s Center for Dyslexia and Creativity is studying Wigan’s methods, to find new ways for scientists to save lives. He offers hope regarding potential, especially to those who see things differently or are misunderstood. He defies limitations.
The work is difficult. Meditative stillness is required. Using his heartbeat’s vibration as a jack hammer tool, he manages subtle movement. It takes agonizing time and patience.
Willard Wigan’s personal quest continues, to make ever smaller pieces that cannot be seen with the naked eye. One was made from only a portion of a grain of sand.
His tiniest piece to date incorporates a carved fleck of gold into a hair of beard stubble. It is smaller than a blood cell!
Two new U.S. exhibitions open:
Discovery Place Science in Charlotte, NC, after traveling from Las Vegas showing
This is a chance to encounter Wigan’s mind-blowing craftsmanship. It is a chance to recognize and honor his lifelong efforts as an artist. It is a reason for all of us, disabled or not, to cheer.