Stephen Wiltshire Facts

What is Stephen Wiltshire known for?

Stephen Wiltshire is an English artist who draws incredibly detailed cityscapes and architectural illustrations. He has the ability to see a landscape just once and then draw it accurately from memory.

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Facts About Stephen Wiltshire

  • Stephen Wiltshire was born in 1974, and he grew up in the Little Venice area of London.
  • He was mute as a child, and at the age of three, he was diagnosed with autism.
  • The same year, his father was killed in a motorcycle road traffic accident.
  • He attended Queensmill School, a special school for autistic children, and showed an interest in drawing.
  • His first drawings were of animals and American cars (a topic he was very knowledgeable about).
  • He started to draw cityscapes after being shown a book about the effects of earthquakes on towns and cities.
  • His teachers at Queensmill helped him to communicate verbally by withholding his drawing material until he was motivated to ask for them. His first word was ‘paper’ and his second was ‘pencil’.
  • At the age of 9, he learned to speak in fully.
  • When he was just eight years old, he was commissioned by former Prime Minister Edward Heath to create a drawing of Salisbury Cathedral.
  • At the age of ten, he drew 26 London landmarks, one for each letter of the alphabet. The series was called London Alphabet.
  • From 1995 to 1998, Stephen studied at the City and Guilds London Art School in Kennington, London.
  • He has produced a drawing nearly 6 metres wide of New York City, based only on a brief twenty-minute helicopter ride over the city.
  • Completed in 2005, Stephen Wiltshire’s memory drawing of Tokyo is 10 metres in length.
  • He has also drawn Rome, Frankfurt, Venice, Amsterdam, Moscow, Hong Kong, Madrid, Dubai, San Francisco, Chicago, Dubai, the deserts of Arizona, and Jerusalem, as well as drawing fictional landscapes and buildings.
  • Some of his early artwork can be seen in the following art books Drawings, Cities, Floating Cities, and Stephen Wiltshire’s American Dream.
  • His panorama drawing of Sydney was completed in 2010.
  • In 2011, he drew a 76-metre memory drawing of New York. It was displayed in JFK International Airport.
  • A documentary about Stephen Wiltshire called Billions of Windows was released in 2019.
  • He was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to art in 2006.
  • Oliver Sacks, the famous neurologist, became interested in Stephen and his work, and he wrote about him in his book An Anthropologist on Mars.
  • The first major retrospective of his work was held in 2003 in the Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham, England. More than 40,000 people attended.
  • In his private sketchbooks, Stephen draws portraits of celebrities and his friends. He enjoys drawing caricatures.
  • He enjoys drawing New York because it is a mixture of order and chaos at the same time.
  • He has his own art studio in Notting Hill, London. It is called the Wiltshire Pad.
  • One of his exhibitions in Singapore was attended by more than 150,000 people over five days.
  • Stephen says one of his former teachers, Chris Marris, is his greatest inspiration because he taught him a lot.
  • He enjoys watching the TV show Friends, buying magazines, looking at the models of classic 1970s cars in Hamleys toyshop in London, playing the piano, and taking rides on double-decker buses.
  • He is a fan of the hyper-realistic paintings of Richard Estes.
  • He likes listening to the music of Beyonce, Kanye West, Rhianna, and the Backstreet Boys.
  • Despite his incredible memory, Stephen managed to get lost in Manhattan.
  • His favourite films are Rain Man and Saturday Night Fever.

What does Stephen Wiltshire use for his drawings?

The majority of his work is produced with pen on paper.

He prefers to use Staedtler pigment liner pens.

“Do the best you can and never stop.”

Stephen Wiltshire’s motto.