Extraordinary talent for drawing - Oryx

Oryx Magazine - The Artist's Press Archive

Stephen's amazing skill is even more incredible considering that, aged three, he was diagnosed as autistic. Born in London in 1974, he was completely mute as a small child and found it hard to relate to other people. He didn't learn to speak fully until he was nine. At the age of five, it became apparent that he communicated through the language of drawing: first animals, then London buses, and when he was about seven he became fascinated with sketching landmark London buildings.

'I have always loved architecture; it was my language and it helped me to open up and learn to read and write when I was growing up,' he says. Even as a child Stephen's sense of perspective, proportion, and attention to detail were astonishing. After winning several competitions with his work, media interest grew and at seven years old he sold his first piece.

As a teen, his first visit to New York was a career highlight; he was captivated by the city. Visits to Paris, Edinburgh, Venice, Amsterdam, Leningrad, and Moscow quickly followed. After flying over London in a helicopter, Stephen completed a perfectly scaled aerial illustration of a four-sqaure-mile area within three hours; including 12 historic landmarks and 200 other structures.

In 2005, he was commissioned to undertake vast panoramic drawings of a series of world cities, starting with a 10m-long canvas representation of the Tokyo skyline. Two months later he drew a similarly detailed picture of Rome entirely from memory.

'I always see the images in my head,' he says. 'I am surrounded by buildings everywhere I go. It's fantastic. I will never get tired of it.' Stephen subsequently took on commissions from Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, London, New York, and later, Sydney, Shanghai, and Brisbane. The New York panorama was his dream commission. 'The studio I was in was just amazing,' he says. 'There was a skylight looking straight up to the Empire State Building which is my favourite building in New York. My Drawing was six metres long and took me just under six days to complete.' Today Stephen is known around the world. His talent has been recognised with an MBE for services to art; he has his own gallery in the heart of London; and he regularly travels the world on private and public commissions.

'Getting my own gallery where people can see my work up close was a key moment in my career,' he says. 'Also, travelling to countries I used to dream about when I was a little boy; I love travelling, it helps to broaden my mind and give me more ways of putting detail in my work.'


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