Willard Wigan MBE
Willard came to visit Swann-Morton again on 13 January 2004, where he presented us with a new "micro" swan for us to display. Willard said "...it is great being associated with Swann-Morton, the best surgical blade manufacturer in the world" and who are we to argue with the world record holder for microscopic sculptures!
Willard Wigan was born in Birmingham, England in 1957 and is the creator of the smallest works of art on earth.
From being a traumatised and humiliated unrecognised dyslexic child, he is beginning to emerge as the most globally celebrated micro-miniaturist of all time and is literally capable of turning a spec of dust into a vision of true beauty.
He can create a masterpiece within the eye of a tiny sewing needle, on the head of a pin, the tip of an eyelash or a grain of sand. Some of his works are many times smaller than the full stop at the end of this sentence. Many are even smaller still, with some being completely invisible to the naked eye yet, when viewed through high power magnification, the effect on the viewer is truly mesmerising.
His works have fascinated and amazed discerning collectors worldwide and are cherished by royalty and celebrities from the worlds of show business, sports and politics across the globe.
When exhibited in public they draw reactions of astonishment and wonder from press and public alike, frequently generating comments such as "The most amazing thing I have ever seen", "The eighth wonder of the world", "The Michelangelo of the future" and "Truly a gift from God ".
In many instances his work simply stuns viewers into silence. Others have described it as being seemingly "supernatural" and crossing the boundaries between Art and Science . It confuses the senses and such distinctions become irrelevant as viewers become lost in the sheer wonder of the inner space to which his work transports them.
His sculpture of the Statue of Liberty in the eye of a tiny sewing needle so impressed the American foundation that they placed it on display inside the real statue - only the fifth time in the great monument´s history that an artist has been allowed to exhibit there.
Most recently his work was featured in the Mercedes Benz book, commissioned to launch the new SL model, as representing the embodiment of extreme precision in the art world just as Mercedes are in the automobile world.
Willard, who is completely self- taught (there are no teachers) has baffled medical science and been the subject of discussions among micro-surgeons, nano-technologists and at universities worldwide. There is no doubt he is as unique as his timeless masterpieces.
Whilst many artists work on a grandiose scale, such works can strangely pale into insignificance when placed alongside these artworks, which are presented as a rare gem that can be given to but one person at a time, drawing individuals into an enchanted microcosm.
The artist himself likens his work to "Trying to pass a pin through a bubble without bursting it" and the skill, time and dedication involved in the creation of each micro-sculpture means that each piece contains the very heart and soul of its creator.
Ultimately, all who view these truly astounding treasures are filled with a sense of awe, lost for explanations but nevertheless acutely aware that their lives have in some strange, small way been enriched by the uncanny sights they have witnessed
It's unpredictable how long this incredible talent will last, but his unique and exclusive creations will outlive him for generations to come, as national treasures like a priceless Rembrandt or Picasso.
For details of Willard's new exhibition, click here.