Art be­tween heart­beats

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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.

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