Willard Wigan

Sunday, July 12, 2009 

Current mood:  blissful
Category: Art and Photography


It’s my turn to blog at Seven Wicked Writers and here is what I posted:
By A.J. Llewellyn

Last night, in the waning heat of a baking Los Angeles day, my 13-year-old goddaughter Eleanna begged me to take her to see the needle art.

“I have to go. I want to see these things,” she said.

“Needle art?” I asked warily. “What is that?” I was afraid it would be some collection of used junkies’ syringes called Art…you never know with kids.

Turns out miraculous things can come out of the mouths of babes. The above photo is an actual enlargement of the astonishing Willard Wigan’s miniature art – all of it created inside the eye of a needle, at the tip of a ballpoint pen, the tip of a match or on the end of an eyelash. I am in awe, still circling the sun in my admiration for this wonderful exhibit we went to last night at the Help studio in Hollywood.

Willard Wigan created his art because he had to. I can relate to that. I write because I have to. From the time he started school, he suffered from dyslexia and other learning difficulties, finding his truth by creating a world so small that it can’t be seen with the naked eye.

In fact, the entire exhibit is a series of light boxes that have high-power telescopes you peer into, so you can see the fruits of his pains-taking labors. My God! I have never seen anything like it. 

There was the Statue of Liberty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, (see the pic above) the Six Wives of Henry Viii (my favorite) and being Hollywood, of course we had Oscar.

“It began when I was five years old,” Willard says in the brochure. “I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn’t hold me back and my teachers couldn’t criticise me. That’s how my career as a micro-sculptor began.”  

The creator of the world’s smallest sculptures taked months to complete a single piece, working between heartbeats to avoid hand tremors. Using a tiny surgical blade, he carves figures out of grains of rice, sand and sugar. He paints them with the hair from the back of a fly.

Eleanna and I have been to art galleries and museums all over the world. We thought the show where everything was made from lint (where else but New York) was the height of style. We thought the dead body exhibit, also in New York, was gross. We were simply enthralled with the Wigan exhibit.

Over dinner at Snow White’s Coffee shop, an apt choice since this was one of our favorite pieces, we talked about the things we’ve shared. They say it is a small world and it is. To see the fire in my favorite girl’s eyes as she realizes nothing is impossible, no matter what grownups may say, to me says more than words. And that is a lot, coming from me – the guy who loves words.

Currently touring the world, you can check out if it is coming to a gallery near you at www.willard-wigan.com  

Aloha oe,


Currently listening:
Greatest Hawaiian Hits
By The Peter Moon Band;THE
Release date: 2005-01-14

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