Stephen Wiltshire hails from London, but his knowledge of Manhattan’s skyline could stump any New Yorker.
The architectural artist has drawn panoramas of Frankfurt, London, Tokyo, Dubai, Rome, Madrid and Jerusalem, all from memory. His current subject is our fair city – and you can see him at work at the Pratt Institute.
Here’s the drill: Wiltshire rides around the city in a helicopter for 20 minutes, during which time he impresses on his mind thousands of landmarks, great and small.
Next, he retires to a gallery to fill the blank 18-foot canvas that awaits him. He never refers to photos as he draws.
Wiltshire is especially inspired by New York because of its ‘busy streets, rush hour, the chaos, yellow taxis and the highrise buildings reaching up to the sky,’ he said during a press conference on Monday at Pratt, where he’s holed up, pen in hand, ear buds streaming 1970s funk and Top 40 hits.