Stephen Wiltshire: The Human Camera
A picture is worth a thousand words. In this sense, architectural artist, Stephen Wiltshire became very eloquent at age five. Although actual, orated communication would not commence until the age of nine, when teachers coaxed him to speech by temporarily removing his art supplies, inspiring Stephen to ask for their most-welcomed return. “Paper” was his first word.
London based and born, Stephen Wiltshire was diagnosed as autistic at age three. And up until the age of nine Stephen was mute but I like to think of it as, Stephen chose not to speak the way Oskar Matzerath chose not to grow. With pen to paper like stick to drum, Wiltshire beat a rhythm of cities, of labyrinthine streets seen from above or pulsing with life and design below. He draws mainly from memory, at times only briefly exposed to the, usually, new subject by flying over on helicopter before executing exciting pieces that are not only impressions but also quite accurate representations.
What’s interesting is Wiltshire’s commitment to detail but through a freedom of line. His drawings are elaborate sketches that house all the visible information and yet leave room for lightness and lucidity; expressing, what seems to me, the joy or even the thrill of the act itself.
In October 2009 (last month) Stephen finished his epic panorama series of drawings, closing the series, in fact, with New York City. Have a look for yourself since words are known to do this man little justice.