Take a look at this drawing of the New York skyline by the London artist Stephen Wiltshire. It’s pretty impressive – even more so when you learn that he drew it entirely from memory.
Stephen, 35, completed his intricate 18ft (5.5m) work of the five boroughs of the Big Apple after just a 20-minute helicopter ride over the city. With his awesome memory, he was able to remember the image and location of every building, then sketch them all in a perfect scale.
At the age of 3 Stephen has autism diagnosed. He could not speak but at school, teachers realised his talent and love of drawing, which became his way of communicating with the world. He began with animals, then London buses and finally buildings, all revealing an incredible mastery of perception.
In May 2005 Stephen drew his first cityscape after he was given a short helicopter ride over Tokyo. He memorised what he had seen and drew a detailed panoramic 3-D view of the city on a 33ft (10m)-long canvas.
He went on to capture many of the world’s most iconic skylines, including those of Hong Kong, London and Jerusalem.
When he took a helicopter ride over Rome, he remembered it in such detail that he even drew the exact number of columns in the Pantheon.
This week Stephen said that New York was one of his favourite cities: ‘I love it because the skyscrapers are all tall buildings. The avenues are squares, there’s the yellow New York taxicabs and it’s all so exciting.’
You can see Stephen’s New York panorama at his gallery in Pall Mall, London, from Monday, March 8. The gallery is open from Monday to Friday 10am to 5:30pm; Saturdays 11am to 4pm. Admission free.