Through the eye of a needle

Getting perspective: One of Wigan’s sculptures next to a fly

Willard Wigan is a microsculptor, meaning his sculptures are so small they can only be seen through a microscope. To get a sense of what this actually means, look at a needle. It’s hard enough for most people to thread one, let alone use it as the site for art. To get faithful representations of his subjects (which, in the past, have included Bart and Homer Simpson, Marilyn Monroe, and Henry XIII flanked by all his wives, each of whom have enough room to do jumping jacks) to fit in the eye of a needle, Wigan usually works at night when there are fewer distractions so he can enter a state in which he can lower his heart rate enough to work between pulses.

The cast of THE WIZARD OZ

Wigan is not alone, actually, in his chosen profession, but while he fell into miniatures out of a desire to sculpt a world of his own, Hagop Sandaldjian used it as yet another outlet for his obsession with ergonomics. Hagop is best known for his contributions to music in the 1970s, when he introduced an innovative learning method for students based on their own personal interactions with a particular instrument. He believed that “fluent, proficient performance resulted from the harmonious resolution of the internal force of muscle contraction against the external force of gravity.” So when he met Edward Kazarian, a well known microminiaturist, he found a new hobby  that was a perfect fit for his need for passion channeled into controlled and precise movement.

For more on Wigan, see his schedule of upcoming exhibitions here and notes on his recent TED Talk here.