Autistic artist briefly looks at cityscape and replicates it from memory

Stephen Wiltshire, 42, is a London-based artist renowned all around the world for his incredibly detailed cityscapes. He has been referred to as the "human camera" because he has a particular talent for drawing lifelike, precise and detailed representations of cities. But what’s all the more impressive is that Stephen reproduces these accurate scenes all from memory after having only observed them briefly.

Stephen set himself a seemingly impossible challenge: to draw a 20-foot panoramic cityscape of New York City entirely from memory. It was certainly a feat that pushed him to his limits.

Here you can watch a video showing Stephen’s recreation of the New York City skyline:

Stephen had 20 minutes to memorize seven square miles of his favorite city from a helicopter and then had only three days to complete the scene on canvas. The result is breathtaking. He was able to recreate the city down to every last detail, where every building, window, door and column is precisely correct in number, size and placement. You can find more of Stephen’s other cityscapes and incredible artwork here.

What makes Stephen a one-in-a-million artist, apart from his incredible talent, is the fact that he has suffered a life-long brain disorder that affects every aspect of his life — autism. Diagnosed at age three, Stephen remained trapped in his own world, unable to relate to other people and mute until the age of five. His whole life changed when he discovered what he could do with some crayons and paper.

Today, Stephen is what’s known as a savant — one of only a hundred individuals in the world recognized as having extraordinary talent that emerges from autism. He has published four books, produced thousands of drawings and his work is popular all over the world. In 2006 he also joined a club of elite artists who have been awarded an MBE by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, for services to the art world. “I feel happy and proud of my work... Do the best you can and never stop,” he says. What a truly inspiring individual!

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