• Tianyi Jia

Autistic savant, Architectural artist: Stephen Wiltshire

When God closes a door, he opens a window. To artists suffering from disabilities, art is their means to communicate with the world. Those artists’ talents and achievements are the most splendid miracles in the face of adversities.

Stephen Wiltshire is an autistic savant with prodigious abilities at drawing and painting detailed cityscapes. Though having no language to interact with the world, his drawings are exhibited in museums all over the globe.

“Do the best you can and never stop.” - Stephen Wiltshire

Early life

Stephen Wiltshire was born in London, England, in 1974 to Caribbean parents. At the age of 3, he was diagnosed with autism. As a child, Stephen lived in his own world without any interactions with the people around him. Fortunately, Stephen found his passion - drawing - in the Queensmill School in London. From animals to London buses to buildings, Stephen demonstrates exceptional artistic talents through his unique perspective and natural lines. After his instructors entered a few of his works into many children’s art competitions, Stephen gained recognition from the media and set out on his lifelong journey.

City Panorama Project

Stephen’s most notable project is his series of city panoramas. He started this project with his longest panoramic memory drawing of Tokyo in May 2005. The masterpiece was a 32.8-foot-long drawing; Stephen managed to complete the grand piece within seven days following merely a helicopter ride over the city.

Tokyo Panorama

Two months later, Stephen drew a panorama of Rome. Pulling details entirely from memory, he not only accurately depicted the Vatican and St. Peter's Cathedral, but also the exact number of columns in the Pantheon.

Rome Panorama

In December, Stephen completed another 10-meter-long drawing. This time, he depicted Hong Kong and granted his work as a Christmas present to the Hong Kong’s residents.

Another remarkable one in the panorama series was the memory drawing of his "spiritual home", New York City. At the Pratt Institute, he sketched the views of Manhattan, the Hudson shoreline of New Jersey, the Financial District, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Brooklyn over five days.

New York Panorama

In addition to the above-mentioned panoramas, Stephen drew panoramas of Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem, London, Sydney, Shanghai, Brisbane, Singapore, Istanbul, Houston, Mexico City and Doha, Qatar





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