A new exhibition featuring microscopic works of art has gone on display in London to celebrate the UK release of new Marvel superhero movie Ant-Man.
The gallery features various small-scale figurines that are so tiny that they must be viewed through a microscope. These works include a model of the aforementioned superhero – who can shrink to the size of an ant – placed in the eye of a needle.
The man behind the tiny creations, Wolverhampton-born sculptor Willard Wigan, explains that creating models as small as 0.005mm is fiendishly difficult but ultimately worthwhile.
"I don't enjoy doing this work because it drives me insane doing it. But I get pleasure when I finish it, so that's the drive for me. I see the end result," he says.
"To know the impact that these little things are having on people, even people who aren't interested in any form of art... When they see my work it blows them away. It's like an atom – it's the biggest explosion even though it's tiny," adds Wigan.
The time-consuming process sees Wigan take around eight weeks for a sculpture to be completed, with the artist having to enter a meditative state in order to control his nervous system and breathing, thus ensuring he does not make even the tiniest movement while working.
"I have to move just microns of movement. I have to be a dead man working physically – the whole thing is just so still," he says.
As there are no paintbrushes small enough for the task, he claims to have used everything from a wasp's stinger to a fly's hair in order to create his artworks.
"I can take a little broken diamond, smash it up and then take the shards to make little chisels. I found a dead wasp and I took the stinger from the wasp to make tweezers. I paint with the hair from a fly," Wigan says.
Wigan began making his tiny sculptures at the age of five, when he constructed houses for ants. He says it was the support and sage advice of her mother that spurred him on to have a career as an artist.
"What brought it home to me is when my mother saw it and was stunned into silence. When she did speak she said something that has stuck with me to this day. She said that if I go smaller my name would get bigger when I get older," he says.
Wigan has already received acclaim for his art, including a Guinness world record for creating the smallest art in the world and an MBE from the Queen in 2007. Notable collectors of his works include Prince Charles, Elton John, Simon Cowell and Mike Tyson.
"I am going to continue to go smaller. I have a Guinness world record already for the smallest in the world, but I want to go down to less than a micron, which I will attempt to do," says Wigan.
The 'Antsibition' at Old Street underground station is open from 13-17 July. Ant-Man will be released in UK cinemas nationwide on 17 July.