Art between heartbeats
Sculptor Willard Wigan produces work on a microscopic scale and his attention to detail is huge.
The Briton is behind a series of intricate artworks, each housed inside the eye of a needle, which are wowing audiences as part of an ANZ advertising campaign.
Mr Wigan travelled to New Zealand with some of his extraordinary miniatures and stopped by two low-decile Auckland schools to share his story last week.
The 56-year-old was derided by his teachers as a child because he was dyslexic.
‘‘My whole life fell apart, I became like an empty pocket,’’ he told students at Onehunga High School and St Paul’s College.
‘‘But one thing I had that no one else had was a gift.’’
Mr Wigan discovered his talent while playing truant. He stumbled upon an ants’ nest while fooling around in the backyard and decided that they needed a home, so he built them one out of tiny splinters of wood.
‘‘Then I got carried away because I thought the ants needed furniture,’’ he says.
His mother encouraged him to make even smaller works.
So his next attempt was to fit a camel into the eye of a needle.
To create his work he must control his breathing and work between heartbeats to keep his hands inhumanely steady.
The materials he uses include his own hair, lint from clothing and gold scraped from a chain that dangles around his neck. His message to students was clear: ‘‘Education is the key to success. If you’ve got a talent you have to work on that talent.’’
Life lessons: Willard Wigan with students Grant Elliott and Cassidy Makoni at Onehunga High School.
Tiny triumph: This work depicts astronaut Buzz Aldrin in the eye of a needle.