Autistic artist finds inspiration in New York city

Tue Nov 3, 2009 11:56am EST
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By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stephen Wiltshire was diagnosed as autistic at aged three, did not speak until five but as an adult sells his art for thousands of British pounds.

Wiltshire was recently in New York for the last of nine massive panoramic drawings of major cities around the world. He has drawn each from his unique memory that stores the complete view of a city after taking a helicopter ride that lasts minutes.

"I see the buildings and the skyline and see it from a bird's eye view," said Wiltshire, 35, of his New York helicopter ride which included views of the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Citicorp building, Rockefeller Center and Central Park.

"The whole of Manhattan," he added.

The 20-foot (six meter) New York panorama follows those done in Tokyo, Rome, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem and London.

Wiltshire said he loves New York and it shows in the shy smile and the way he recounts what attracts him to the city.

"I'm interested to see the skyscrapers and street scenes, the New York taxi cabs, limousines and big American cars," Wiltshire said.

Compared with London, where he was born to West Indian parents, New York "is very huge, of squares and rectangles and very easy avenues," he added.   Continued...

<p>British artist Stephen Wiltshire works on a hand drawn panorama of the skyline of New York, from a studio in Brooklyn at the Pratt Institute, October 28, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East</p>