it is a tiny world


willard_wiganWillard Wigan creates micro-sculptures that you cannot see with the naked eye. He creates his sculptures from a grain of sand and he uses eyelashes to paint. The sheer complexity of the task to create these tiny worlds of wonder inside the eye of a needle or on the top of a pin, generates deep respect for the man who has the patience and skill to create this. His work is shown in galleries and exhibitions all around the world. If his art is on show you’ll see people bending over looking through a Schermafbeelding 2012-12-10 om 13.22.31 microscope. In january 2013 the watchmaker Greubel Forsey will put the outcome of their combined effort on the market. In the video the partnership is explained as a complementationary partnership between the artist W.Wigan and the craftsmanship of the watchmakers. Arts & Crafts brought together to create something better then before. But in what way does Wigan’s work differ from the watchmakers? The sculptures Wigan creates are duplicates of images we know and recognize from the world of Disney or from the real world.


wizard of oz

To say it crude, if they were a little bit bigger we would probably think they were cheap-china-made- tombola-gifts. The value of the objects is in the impossible seize and the focus with which a human hand has mastered these materials. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s grandioze! But it also does raise the question of the very thin line between arts and crafts. And in a way it boils down to the marketing of the objects. In a gallery it’s art, in a jewelry it’s craft? Or maybe the categories are derived by their functionality: if you can only look at it – it’s art, if you can also use it – it’s craft (or design)? Does it matter? Not really. But in our society the artist has become a kind of new gold. Creative thinking looks like the solution to almost all problems and funny enough it is taken for granted that all artist are capable of creative thinking and therefor an answer to all your (business) problems.  And more worrying – if you want to be a successful business-student you should behave like an artist. That’s fine – as long as behaving as an artist also includes that you train and practice the skills necessary to create your images. Greubel + Forsey made a good PR-decision: Wigan’s fame as an artist will leverage to their brand. And Wigan was very happy to discover that their tools were a lot like what he has created for himself and how he can professionalize them. In short it’s a win-win for both of them. And maybe it underlines that arts and crafts are two sides of the same coin. The success of this partnership was based in their shared interest of working in tiny-contained spaces and that – because of their dedication – they could learn from each other how to make the impossible possible.

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