Autistic Artist Draws NYC From Memory
By PopEater Staff Posted Nov 3rd 2009 03:55PM
Stephen Wiltshire was diagnosed with autism at age three, and he was mute until age five. His drawings, which began as a way to calm him down from tantrums, have made him into a critically-acclaimed artist. They now sell for thousands of dollars a piece.
London-born Wiltshire, 35, recently came to New York City as both a tourist and an artist. After only a few minutes in a helicopter ride, he drew a 20-foot panorama of the city completely from memory. "I see the buildings and the skyline and see it from a bird's eye view," he told Reuters UK. "The whole of Manhattan."
It is the sixth in his collection of cityscape panoramas, following Tokyo, Rome, Hong Kong. Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem, and London, all of which he drew thanks to his photographic memory.
"I'm interested to see the skyscrapers and street scenes, the New York taxi cabs, limousines and big American cars," Wiltshire said of New York City. Compared with his hometown of London, he said New York "is very huge, of squares and rectangles and very easy avenues."
When he was young, his family noticed that drawing helped his tantrums. "The only thing to calm him down was to draw or play with toy double-decker buses," said his sister, Annette Wiltshire.
"I wanted to draw," he explained. "I feel good. I am pleased with what I am doing." He mainly uses ink, pencils, chalk, charcoal and colored pastels.
Wiltshire was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Prince Charles in 2006 for his services to the art world, and he has been featured in numerous galleries and television documentaries. Although he already has a successful career, he attends art school one day a week in London.
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