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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Willard Wigan's Betty Boop

Lunar Landing

The Simpsons

Incredible Hulk

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Little Miss Muffett

Henry VIII

Texas Longhorn Bull

Oscar

Willard Wigan

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.

Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
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.

Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
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!

Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
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.

Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
"Mad Hatter's Tea Party" is taken from a scene in "Alice in Wonderland."
Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
"Little Miss Muffet" depicts a scene from the classic nursery rhyme, with an impossibly small spider.
Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
Shown is Wigan's microsculpture of Henry VIII of England along with his six wives.
Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
Shown here is "Texas Longhorn Bull," by Willard Wigan.
Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
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.
Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of 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.
Caption by / Photo by Courtesy of Willard Wigan
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