Eye of the Beholder


This post features the work of artist Willard Wigan. Although the art does not depict images related to disabilities, illness, injury, adversity, caregiving, or surviving, the artist himself has been dealing with adversity his entire life — he has dyslexia and he can neither read nor write.

Willard Wigan Hulk in Eye of a NeedleAccording to his website, Wigan’s “micro-sculptures are now so minute that they are  only visible through a microscope. Each piece commonly sits within the eye of a  needle, or on top of a pin head.” To create his micro art, Wigan “enters a meditative state” that slows his heartbeat and reduces hand tremors. Believe it or not, he sculpts between heart beats. Even the reverberation of traffic can affect Wigan’s work. “Consequently, he often works through the night” so there is minimal traffic when he works.

betty_boop_sculpture_lead_203x152Wigan uses tiny blades to make sculptures from grains of rice, sugar, and sand then mounts his sculptures on pin-heads or inside the eyes of needles. According to the BBC, “one of his other tools is a hair from the back of a dead fly, which he uses as a paintbrush. Wigan describes some of his work as “smaller than a blood cell.”

2013-1230 Snow White Wigan ArtThe Huffington Post revealed that despite his adversity, Wigan “earned international acclaim for his works, which are owned by some of the world’s richest and most famous” people such as Prince Charles, Elton John, Mike Tyson, and Simon Cowell. The price of his art is generally more than $40,000 per piece. In 2007, a 72-piece collection of Wigan’s work was insured for approximately $17 million.

The Huffington Post article continues by stating “Wigan’s work has a chance to be seen — or not seen — by a larger audience thanks to a recent purchase of 97 super-small sculptures by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, which plans to exhibit them in the company’s various Odditoriums around the world.” A press release from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! states the museum purchased the “world’s largest collection [97 pieces] of the world’s smallest micro-sculptures” for an undisclosed amount of money.

Even before his large sale, Wigan was doing very well financially. Keep in mind Wigan has faced adversity his entire life — he can neither read nor write. He accomplished fame and fortune by remaining optimistic and maintaining a positive “can do” attitude.

To see additional images associated with Willard Wigan, click here.

Call to Action

If you are having difficulty maintaining a positive attitude, or you have advice for others who are having difficulty maintaining a positive attitude, please leave your comments below this post.


Thanks to William Wigan for showing us that it is possible to overcome even the smallest challenges; BBC for featuring Wigan in multiple articles, some of which I referenced in this post; Huffington Post for providing details about Wigan that were missing from other sources; ABC News for featuring Wigan in the video I used in this post; YouTube for hosting the video; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to use the pictures, video, and text I used in this post.

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