Person of the Week: Stephen Wiltshire
By NICK WATT ABC NEWS
People tell artist Stephen Wiltshire that his work is brilliant. Today, he is drawing a panoramic view of Madrid in painstaking detail, penned entirely from memory after a 30-minute helicopter ride across the city.
Memorizing minute details is easy for him. Verbal communication is not. Wiltshire is autistic, and his first words came when he was 5 years old. "I said, I want paper," he recalled. "Please, can I have a paper, please, to draw?"
ABC News visited the London gallery where Wiltshire's cityscapes sell for thousands of dollars.
He drew St. Mark's Square, in Venice, and Los Angeles from memory. He also recreated four square miles of London — that's 200 buildings. The scale and perspective of his work is perfect.
"I think it's easy," he said. "My favorite is that New York subway passing ... from the New York skyline."
Wiltshire has only visited New York City three times, yet remembers it vividly. The buildings, the cabs and the lights on Broadway.
"New York is my favorite city," Wiltshire said.
At age 12, he was featured in a BBC documentary "Fragments of Genius," in which he drew an ornate London train station from memory. Fame followed, as did trips overseas, adulation and disbelief.
ABC News gave Wiltshire a relatively easy task: 10 minutes at Piccadilly Circus. Then, he was asked to draw it from memory. It took him just a little over an hour.
"There we have it," he said. "It's done now."
The result? Practically perfect.