X

Photos: Sculpture on the head of a pin

Artist Willard Wigan is creating microsculptures on the head of a pin--so minute that they are only visible through a microscope.

james-martin-bio
james-martin-bio

James Martin

See full bio

BettyBoop.jpg
1 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Willard Wigan's Betty Boop

Seen through a microscope, artist Willard Wigan's Betty Boop sculpture is so small that it fits inside the eye of a needle.

Wigan's art requires intense concentration to perform such detailed work on an almost unbelievably small scale. Entering a trance-like meditative state, Wigan says he is able to slow his heartbeat, reducing hand tremors and allowing him to sculpt between pulse beats. The tiniest movements, even traffic on the streets outside, can affect the details of his art.

Wigan's work is currently on a gallery tour around the United States, and will be in Chicago in September and Houston in October. You can also see his work at the My Little Eye Gallery in London, and online.

LunarLanding.jpg
2 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Lunar Landing

Shown here is Wigan's "Lunar Landing."

Working in such a tiny environment requires specialty tools and unique materials. Using instruments like brushes consisting only of a single hair from a dead house fly and a single shard of diamond attached to the head of a pin, Wigan paints and sculpts with materials including nylon, grains of sand, dust fibers, cobwebs, and human hair.

GY002CTheSimpsonsCompressed1.jpg
3 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

The Simpsons

In "The Simpsons," Bart and Homer Simpson are depicted on the head of a pin.

Working on such a small scale brings a unique set of problems to Wigan's art. Noise vibrations and dust particles in the air can interfere with the work. Static electricity is a major problem, and occasionally Wigan has accidents--like inhaling the entire sculpture!

IncredibleHulk.jpg
4 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk breaks through the eye of a needle.

Wigan, now 51 years old, has been creating these miniature works since his teens. Depending on the complexity of the design, a typical piece takes about two months to complete.

MadHattersTeaParty.jpg
5 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

"Mad Hatter's Tea Party" is taken from a scene in "Alice in Wonderland."
LittleMissMuffet.jpg
6 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Little Miss Muffett

"Little Miss Muffet" depicts a scene from the classic nursery rhyme, with an impossibly small spider.
HenryVIII.jpg
7 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Henry VIII

Shown is Wigan's microsculpture of Henry VIII of England along with his six wives.
TexasLonghornBull_2010W391.jpg
8 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Texas Longhorn Bull

Shown here is "Texas Longhorn Bull," by Willard Wigan.
Oscar.jpg
9 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Oscar

Wigan has created an itsy-bitsy Oscar. An actual Academy Award statuette weighs about 8 1/2 pounds and stands 13 1/2 inches tall, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
IMG_1295.JPG
10 of 10 Courtesy of Willard Wigan

Willard Wigan

The artist Willard Wigan works on one of his microsculptures. His work can be seen at the My Little Eye Gallery in London, across from the British Museum.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

94 Photos
2023 Honda CR-V Is Coming This Summer

More Galleries

2023 Honda CR-V Is Coming This Summer

4 Photos
The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
'Stranger Things' Stars Then and Now: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

More Galleries

'Stranger Things' Stars Then and Now: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

40 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

80 Photos
2023 Acura Integra Is a New Age Sport Compact

More Galleries

2023 Acura Integra Is a New Age Sport Compact

56 Photos
Maserati MC20 Cielo Is a Gorgeous Italian Spyder

More Galleries

Maserati MC20 Cielo Is a Gorgeous Italian Spyder

70 Photos