There’s a word of action happening on that strand of hair. Photo by Grahamc99
When you think of a typical art gallery, what comes to mind? A spacious room with paintings on the wall? Row after row of collages? A typical art gallery does indeed require a lot of space and lighting to properly display all of the works. But this isn’t your typical gallery. There is a little known niche of artists who specialize in artwork so small, it can’t be seen with the naked eye. These works are often made of tiny particles, dust or hair, and are so small, they can be displayed in the eye of a needle or rest on top of a single strand of hair.
The microscope used to make the art. Photo by Grahamc99
You may be wondering, “how is it even possible to carve on a microscopic surface without crushing it?” Well, it turns out that many artists use tools that they design themselves. The only real requirement is a powerful microscope (depending how small the artist wants to go). Vladimir Aniskin, a micro artist from Russia, says that over time he has learned to time his movements in between heart beats so that his hand doesn’t shake. By the way, there’s only about half of a second in between heart beats. As a result, he usually dedicates months to finishing a single piece of work.
Art on a strand of hair. It’s invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen with a microscope. Photo by Grahamc99
A camel safari on a strand of hair. Photo by Grahamc99
So how does one get into the craft of making microscopic art? According to the artist Willard Wigan, he started making miniature sculptures when he was a child. He says that he used to make houses for ants, then progressed to making shoes and hats for them. Years later he is a world famous micro artist. Like Vladimir, he also must time his movements in between heart beats, and does all of his work in a state of meditation (which slows his heart rate, allowing him more time to work).
Art on the head of a needle! Photo by Toybot Studios
It’s crazy to think that an artist’s entire gallery of work can fit on a single strand of hair, but that’s exactly where some of these works are displayed. Chances are, you’ll never look at a speck of dust or a strand of hair the same again.