Friday, November 9, 2007

Earthquakes, Cars and Architecture

Stephen Wiltshire

Wiltshire's "Times Square" (Oil on Canvas)

Stephen Wiltshire MBE, (born April 24, 1974) is an accomplished architectural artist who has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. Stephen's interests are: earthquakes, cars, and architecture, in that order.

Stephen Wiltshire was born in London, England, to West Indian parents. He was mute and at the age of three was diagnosed as an autistic. The same year his father died in a motorcycle accident. At the age of four, Stephen was sent to Queensmill School in London where he expressed interest in drawing. He began to communicate through his drawings. At the age of 8, he began to draw imaginary post-earthquake cityscapes and cars.

Teacher Chris Marris began to encourage his drawing and with his aid Wiltshire also slowly learned to speak at the age of 9.

At the age of ten, Wiltshire drew a series of pictures he called a "London Alphabet", a sequence of drawings of London landmarks, one for each letter.

When Wiltshire was part of a BBC programme The Foolish Wise Ones in 1987, viewers phoned in, expressing interest to buy his work. A collection of his works, named Drawings, was published that year.

Wiltshire has become a popular artist. He can look at a target once and then draw a very accurate and very detailed picture of it. He once drew the whole of central London after a helicopter trip above it. He can also make imaginary scenes like St. Paul's Cathedral surrounded by flames.

In 2003, there was a major retrospective in the Orleans House gallery in Twickenham, London.

Stephen's work has since been the subject of many TV documentaries; neurologist Oliver Sacks writes about him in the chapter "Prodigies", in his book An Anthropologist on Mars.

His books include Drawings (1987), Cities (1989), Floating Cities (1991), and Stephen Wiltshire's American Dream (1993). His third book - Floating Cities (Michael Joseph, 1991) - was number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list.

In May 2005 Stephen produced his longest ever panoramic memory drawing of Tokyo[1] on a 10 meter long canvas within 7 days following a short helicopter ride over the city. Since then he has drawn Rome[2], Hong Kong[3] and Frankfurt[4] on giant canvasses.

In 2006, Stephen Wiltshire was awarded an MBE for services to art[5].

In September 2006 Stephen opened his permanent gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade[6], Pall Mall, London. He resides there two days a week working on commissions, chats to visitors or just draws for fun.

article via Wikipedia

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