‘Creator of the world’s smallest handmade sculptures in history’
Guinness Book of World Records
Born in 1957 in Wolverhampton, Willard Wigan began his artistic life at a tender age. Suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia and mild autism, Wigan struggled at school.
To escape the constant taunts from his teachers and student peers, Wigan found solace and peace in creating art of such minute proportions that it could not be seen with the naked eye. He adopted the belief that if his work could not be seen, then it and he could not be criticised. Often described as nothing, Wigan set about showing the world that there is no such thing as nothing.
‘My work is a reflection of myself,’ says Wigan. ‘I wanted to show the world that the little things can have the biggest impact. At school, I couldn’t express myself and felt like ‘nothing.’ I wanted to experiment with the world that we can’t see.’
Today, the internationally renowned micro artist is known for sculpting the world’s smallest works of art, and has been so celebrated in the Guinness Book of World records. Inspired to capture the attention and awe of his subject matter in the smallest and most microscopic of detail, Wigan imagines and creates a microscopic world that entices people to look closer.
The personal sacrifice involved in creating such wondrous, yet scarcely available pieces is inconceivable to most. Wigan enters a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce hand tremors and sculpt between pulse beats. Even reverberation caused by outside traffic can affect Wigan’s work. This causes him to retreat to places of solitude, or to work through the night when there is minimal disruption.
Wigan’s work has been described as “the eighth wonder of the world”. It is fitting that the boy who was told he would amount to nothing was, in 2007, honoured by HRH Prince Charles with an MBE for his services to art.
Along with the ever increasing individual and corporate collectors of his artwork, in 2009, Wigan’s artistic genius was formally recognised by the world-leading Technology, Entertainment and Design institute, (TED) where he was invited to be the keynote speaker during the 2009 World Conference, receiving with it a TED achievement award.
More recently, Wigan’s work has featured in global advertising campaigns for ANZ Bank, Australia and in 2012, Willard was commissioned to replicate the Coronation Crown in celebration of HRH Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. The delivered artwork is now housed at Buckingham Palace.
In January 2018 he was delighted to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick in recognition of the significant contributions that he has made to art and sculpture.
Following his late mothers guiding advice, Wigan continues to challenge himself by striving to make each work even smaller – “The smaller your work, the bigger your name.”
Wigan’s continued goal remains quite simple; to inspire others with his micro-sculptures and to encourage others to live to their fullest potential, remembering that nothing does not exist.