Wiltshire has been hailed as a leading architectural artist because of his astounding ability to draw, from memory, stunningly detailed buildings. He has recreated cityscapes to scale simply from taking half-hour helicopter rides over the world's major capitals, including Tokyo and London. Wiltshire, 34, has featured in numerous documentaries and his artwork has been frequently exhibited all over the world. As a child he was mute and did not relate to people. Then, at the age of three, he was diagnosed as autistic. His talent for drawing was noticed when he was five. By eight he started drawing cityscapes and London landmarks. He is the only autistic savant in the world whose work has been recorded and published since his childhood. Wiltshire now has his own gallery in London.
Doodling, for some, is more than a subconscious use of idle hands. And those with a natural compulsion to draw what they see, like Powerlister Stephen Wiltshire, whether it is real or in their mind's eye, might consider a career as an artist.
How do you make a living from art?
This is a question a lot of artists live with for many years. That's because people buying and commissioning art – ie paying an artist to create something for them – have individuals tastes and these are changing all the time. Employers and agents – the people who will represent you to art buyers – look for individual style, so the sooner you develop your own style the better. So, a question to ask yourself is, what is distinctive about your work? How would someone tell it is yours aside from your signature or tag?
How do I know what to draw, paint or create?
If you're not drawing or creating art because you don't know what to produce this might not be the job for you. But if you are asking because you love art and want to make a career out of it, then the answer is to create whatever you like and create it the way you want to.
Is a degree course one way to make things more certain?
Yes. Formal training will teach you more about art as a concept, its history, the mediums available to you and it will help you to place your work in context. That might mean you change your direction or simply hone existing skills.
Is it easy to get on to art degree course?
The hardest thing will be putting together your portfolio to support your application. If you haven't studied art at A level this will be a sizeable task. You should also expect to have to take a one-year foundation course, called Year 0. Assuming all goes well, you will then apply for a place on a three-year art degree course perhaps called BA (hons) Fine Art – sounds great huh?