One of my favorite causes to raise awareness about is autism and this month is Autism Awareness Month. I happen to be a sibling of a person who has autism and I try my best to share how people can help support families who live with the disability. You’ll be surprised how far empathy and acceptance will go.
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I’m featuring an incredible artist who has autism. Born in London, Stephen Wiltshire is an architectural artist that is able to draw major city skylines from memory after taking a helicopter ride of the city. Amazing right?! Stephen was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and went to London’s Queensmill School, where he expressed interest in drawing.
His early drawings reflected his interests in animals and cars, to this day he is a collector of American cars. He became fascinated with London landmark and by the time he turned 8, he received his first commission to create a drawing of Salisbury Cathedral from the British Prime Minister.
Since then, he has drawn skylines of London, Rome, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai and Jerusalem to name a few! In 2005, he created his largest panorama drawing of his career by drawing the Tokyo skyline on canvas. Citing New York City as his spiritual home, he has drawn it twice, once in 2009 and then in 2011 for UBS’ global advertising campaign.
Stephen and his work have been the subject of many documentaries and has published 4 books. In 2006, Queen Elizabeth II named Stephen a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to art. Later that year, he opened a permanent gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade. If you live in Houston, Stephen will be in your city later this month for Elevate Houston to draw the Bayou City live. Remember that support I mentioned earlier, this would be a great opportunity.
It’s no doubt that Stephen’s artistry is one of a kind and I’m glad to share his #blackmanbrilliance with you. To see more of his artwork, visit his website.