Autistic artist reveals how he creates record-breaking minute sculptures in the eye of a needle – visible only through a microscope – using an EYELASH as a paintbrush
- Dr Willard Wigan OBE, makes art visible only through a microscope, often using his own eyelashes as a paintbrush and his pulse to make tiny movements
- Appearing on This Morning, he said that the highly intricate pieces can see him working for 16 or 17 hours a day – and he admits he only enjoys ‘finishing them’
- Dr Wigan, who is autistic, says he focused on art because he struggled with reading and writing while at school and that he’s getting better with age
An micro-sculptor has revealed how he creates art that is so small it’s seen him enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
Molecular artist Dr Willard Wigan, from Birmingham, uses a microscope to create art that will fit into the eye of the needle, with portraits of John Lennon, Mount Rushmore and Mary Poppins among his recent subjects.
Dr Wigan, who has autism, says he uses an eyelash for a paintbrush and has to make movements ‘in between the beat of his heart’ because the work is so delicate.
Dr Willard Wigan showed off his Mount Rushmore micro sculpture on This Morning on Wednesday; the artist’s work is only visible through a microscope and he often uses his own eyelashes as a paintbrush and his pulse as a jackhammer
A house with an intricate conservatory that includes a sofa inside; other subjects of Dr Wigan’s have included John Lennon and Mary Poppins
In 2013, Dr Wigan first entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the smallest ever sculpture made by the human hand
Appearing on This Morning today, the artist showed presenters Philip Schofield and Rochelle Humes that the highly intricate pieces – including his Mount Rushmore sculpture – can see him working for 16 or 17 hours a day.
He said: ‘I can go without sleep sometimes, it’s like a possession. Autism is an extreme ability to do things that other people can’t do.
‘I can look at a face and I can keep that image in my head, and I can then put you in the eye of a needle.’
Admitting that he finds the art gruelling, he said he really only enjoys ‘finishing them’.
Using a microscope in the studio, he also showed off a minute house with a conservatory featuring a sofa inside and a third sculpture which featured a woman playing the violin inside the eye of a needle.
To create the Mount Rushmore artwork, he used a tiny piece of dinner plate to carve from, and put a diamond into the end of a syringe, using ‘his pulse as a jackhammer’ to make micro movements.
He told the show that he often paints with an eyelash, using oil based paints and says the artwork is so small that it’s even difficult to photograph it.
Gruelling: The artist says that the highly intricate pieces can see him working for 16 or 17 hours a day – and he admits he only enjoys ‘finishing them’
The eye of the needle, where all of his art is placed, then goes underneath a microscope so he can photograph them
Dr Wigan joked that This Morning host, who he first met almost 30 years ago, will be his next subject
Inspiration: the artist says his late mother continues to inspire him to make the art even smaller
A third sculpture put under the microscope showed a woman playing the violin
Speaking about what inspired him as a youngster, when his autism meant he struggled with many academic subjects, the artist said his late mother’s words inspired him.
He said: ‘She told me “the smaller your work, the bigger your name will be” and always pushed me to keep trying to create more intricate works.’
Joking that his next creation may be a nano sculpture of Philip Schofield, Dr Wigan says he’s going to miniaturize the presenter by putting him in a seed.
The This Morning quipped back: ‘Well, let’s hope that seed grows into something useful’.
In 2013, Dr Wigan first entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the smallest ever sculpture made by the human hand; after his work on a sculpture that featured a 24-carat gold motorcycle.
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