Small World: Man Sculpts Microart

Willard Wigan's artwork is so small it can fit on a pinhead.

June 20, 2007 — -- Willard Wigan's artwork is so tiny, a microscope actually is needed to view it.

The Birmingham, England, native is known as the creator of the world's smallest sculptures -- small worlds of their own that are almost invisible to the naked eye.

His work includes sculptures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in the eye of a needle and Elvis on the head of a pin.

"The job satisfaction is people like yourself admiring it and being surprised and being shocked," said Wigan. "People's mouths drop open in disbelief."

Wigan uses tiny, homemade tools to carve his sculptures out of grains of rice or sugar, and paints them with a hair plucked from a housefly's back. He said he has to work between heartbeats to avoid hand tremors.

"Now underneath a microscope those tremors become an earthquake," he said.

Wigan's obsession with tiny objects began when he was a lonely 5-year-old.

"I remember looking at some ants," Wigan said. "They were running around and I automatically thought these ants had nowhere to live."

Wigan has said he has learning disabilities and cannot read or write. Thanks to his microart, though, he has become a big success in the art world. The British entrepreneur and former tennis star David Lloyd bought Wigan's collection, which the collector insured for 11.2 million pounds (more than $20 million).

"The teachers at school made me feel small, so they made me feel like nothing," Wigan said. "I'm trying to prove to the world that nothing doesn't exist."

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