stephen wiltshire draws manhattan skyline from memory stephen wiltshire draws manhattan skyline from memory
oct 27, 2009

stephen wiltshire draws manhattan skyline from memory

stephen wiltshire drawing the manhattan skyline image © stephen wiltshire

british artist stephen wiltshire is currently attempting to draw the manhattan skyline from memory. since monday october 26th wiltshire began filling in an 18 foot canvas at the pratt institute, brooklyn. the drawing is expected to be complete by friday. you can follow his progress through the live webcam here.

wiltshire diagnosed with autism at the age of three displays an unusually powerful photographic memory that he has applied to rendering cityscapes. he can look at the subject of his drawing once and reproduce it accurately with photographic detail, down to the exact number of columns or windows on a building. he memorizes their shapes, locations and the architecture.

having completed cityscapes of some of the world’s most iconic cities – london, tokyo, hong kong, rome, madrid, frankfurt, dubai, and jerusalem, the new york panorama marks wiltshire’s last cityscape. after this piece is complete, he said he will pursue drawing individual buildings.

image © stephen wiltshire

image © stephen wiltshire

  • Impressive! We had those stools in our science classroom!

    Ralph says:
  • i’ve heard about this guy. he’s really amazing

    Lunetta says:
  • So good and crazy 🙂 !!

    Bull says:
  • Nice advertisement for Staedler Pens

    Brian Corco says:
  • make me wish i had autism, im uselss.. nice work

    jack says:
  • I saw him, live, when he drew the Madrid landscape. Absolutely wonderful!

    Jay says:
  • great work, funny how he’s holding the pen 🙂

    K says:
  • Brian – come check out some kids who are 9 and 10 years old, can’t use the bathroom appropriately (read: still in diapers), can’t speak and can’t even hold a primary crayon. Would you wish for THAT kind of autism?

    Diane says:
  • Utterly remarkable.

    [Diane, Brian’s was a light comment. There’s no need for such a humorless response, but I hope it made you feel morally superior.]

    Richard says:

    anitaa♥ says:
  • great job

    corve says:
  • Richard, I agree with Diane, Brian’s comment was a ignorant juvenile remark and not a light comment. I believe it is you sir who is so convinced of his moral superiority. I’m very surprised to see such ignorance on a site like this

    Hugh says:

    HAROLD says:
  • wow that is so impressive. i wish i could see it in person.

    gillian says:
  • Richard, you and I are on the same page.
    I think Brian’s was comment was light – ‘Nice advertisement for Staedler Pens’, and I completely agree it would make for some great ad work.
    It was Jack’s comment that was offensive.

    I think we need to refocus here and comment on the actual work itself which is remarkable.

    Amélie says:
  • Great work and i wish him a as normal life as possible

    greets from Germany

    Josty says:
  • I would never wish for autism,however am somewhat envious of the incredible memory and artistic skill

    arne says:
  • in the second image, that building just right of center (fifth to the left of his hand) is not really there in real life.

    mallow says:
  • banana

    dog says:
  • The best thing about it is not just the amazing drawing, but the fact that he wears a suit while drawing. I wish I could see this live.

    bostonchap says:
  • This is amazing! What an incredible photographic memory he has and so talented to be able to draw-I can’t draw stuff that is right in front of me, let alone by memory. I hope he gets paid for his time and work. There are so many artists out there who are exploited for their talent and have no support when it comes to dealing with getting rightfully and appropriately paid.

    HT says:
  • that’s neat.. I wish him best of luck!

    _mark says:
  • Fire on Stephen, the world awaits your victory!

    Samuel Odusami says:
  • wow power of brain… and people wasting it on been ignorant…

    Maybe autism is all that about. All power of brain concentrated in one thing and he’s get a lucky one. With selling those paintings he could earn millions and fund in “curing” his illness.

    But then, why destroying such a beautiful gift?

    just a thought... says:
  • Amazing!
    it must take him ages to complete a skyeline!

    Andi says:
  • Impressive proof that of the power of the human mind.

    Kudos. says:
  • That’s simply awesome! I often don’t remember my way home…
    [url=] lfdm [/url]

    Koolrider says:
  • Andi, according to the article it will take about a week. Monday 10/26 to Friday. Five days.

    Aaron says:
  • I wish I could draw like that.

    [url=]My blog.[/url]

    Nicholas Tucker says:
  • That is simply amazing!!!

    Indrek says:
  • i’m autistic.

    all of you are appalling. speaking of ignorance when you are the individuals making claims about something you lack understanding off.

    it is not an “illness” for which there is a cure. it is a spectrum disorder. some of us are more functional than others.

    some of us are geniuses, some of us are stupid. some of us play music, some of us write, some of us draw, some of us do math, and on and on and on.

    is that any different than anyone else? no.

    i can see things the way he does and memorize the images, play them back whenever i choose with great accuracy allowing me to remember all sorts of stuff.

    i couldn’t reproduce them in a drawing. i could write about the images in great detail.

    we are different in the same ways normal humans are different from each other. we are just autistic beyond that, and autism is a deficiency in theory of mind, not a deficiency in being human.

    guy with A.S. says:
  • Amazing

    ron biton says:

    D. ZOOLANDER says:
  • The memory is such a fasinating topic. Why does one have to have an impairment to remember what one sees? You’d think we could all tap into this capability somehow.

    woodie says:
  • @guy with A.S.

    Your response was the single most intelligent comment I’ve heard anyone make in a comment section. Why can’t more people take the time to think before speaking like you have done?

    pete says:

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