Wiltshire has an eidetic memory that allows him to recall every detail of a city from one 45-minute helicopter ride. The artist says drawing the New York City skyline was ''truly hard work.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Stephen Wiltshire is known for his panoramic drawings of iconic urban skylines, a typical feat for any artist, but what sets him apart is the fact that his sketches are done entirely from memory. Wiltshire, who is autistic, has an eidetic memory that allows him to recall every detail of a city from one 45-minute helicopter ride. Wiltshire signed his live five-day drawing session of the New York City skyline on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building in New York on Monday (October 16). Wiltshire said drawing the skyline was "truly hard work." The British artist has sketched several cities in the past, including London, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Hong Kong, but he loves visiting New York, and finds inspiration in its architecture and layout. "It's a very beautiful place. It has lots of skyscrapers, buildings, tall buildings and yellow cabs and some American people," said Wiltshire. Wiltshire was diagnosed with autism at aged three, did not speak until five but as an adult, he sells his art for thousands of British pounds. "I mean it's just as important to make awareness of autism, but I think sometimes it may close doors because people have this preconditioned view about autism," said Wiltshire's sister, Annette. "What we celebrate is Stephen's art. I think for him it's not really the purpose of his condition. It's more about what he can translate on paper." Wiltshire first started drawing when he was 5 years old. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old and could not relate to the world, or it to him, and one of the few things that calmed him was to draw. He was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2006 for services to the art world.