All eyes were on British artist Stephen Wiltshire at Paragon as he began drawing the Singapore cityscape from memory.
He had picked out Marina Bay Sands as his favourite after an hour-long helicopter ride the day before to get an aerial view of Singapore's skyline. So it was apt that an outline of the iconic integrated resort was the first thing the artist sketched on the left of the 4m by 1m blank canvas which was mounted on a wooden structure.
Seated on a high chair and plugged into music from his iPhone, he then went over the pencilled outline with a pen. 'This is the first time I have been to Singapore and the skyline was so beautiful and nice. I am feeling good and am excited to start on the panorama,' the 40-year-old told the media at the press launch of See The Big Picture, which is part of Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) 30th anniversary celebrations.
At the event, which began at 10am, SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang presented Mr Wiltshire with a blue Staedtler HB pencil with which he began his sketch. By noon, there were more than 100 people gathered at Paragon's main atrium to witness the artist in action. Some members of the public sat on black benches at the front of the stage to catch Mr Wiltshire's live drawing, while others walked around admiring his famous panoramic works, 18 of which were on display. These include finely detailed sketches of cityscapes and landmarks in London, New York, Venice and Rio de Janeiro.
Most people who came for the event at Paragon had read about him in the papers or online. Housewife Dorothy Tan, 62, said: 'I have heard about him before and rushed down here to watch him. His drawings are amazing and Iam looking forward to seeing the whole big picture of the Singapore landscape.'
Student Daniel Lee, 22, said: 'The most impressive thing is the level of detail he can put into his piece of art after just a few hours of observation. I will probably go down the next few days to check on his progress.'
On Sunday night, he put the finishing touches on the 4m by 1m canvas at the main atrium of Paragon mall, watched by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong. The finished panorama is now displayed at the Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore City Gallery has been formally presented to President Tony Tan Keng Yam, as a gift to Singapore for the nation's 50th birthday.
'Thank you very much for coming and appreciating my work. Do the best you can and never stop,' said Mr Wiltshire to the thousands of visitors at Paragon, who cheered and applauded. (via Straits Times)