Personal Story

Feature Issue on Careers in The Arts for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

My Arts Career: Stephen Wiltshire

A young, Black man with some facial hair and wearing a white baseball cap and white shirt, holds a pen as he focuses on a drawing. He is wearing headphones.
A detailed mural drawing shows a city scape, as a Black man in a black baseball cap works on the drawing in the far right corner.

Stephen Wiltshire, working from memory, draws large-scale urban scenes.

Stephen Wiltshire is a renowned international artist known for his creative draughtsmanship.

Born in 1974 to West Indian parents – an electrical engineer and a seamstress – Wiltshire’s extraordinary talents have produced accurate depictions of cities, skylines, and street scenes from memory after viewing them only briefly. 

Wiltshire, who lives with autism, was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to art in 2006 by Queen Elizabeth II. Discovered at the age of nine, he was called “possibly the best child artist in Britain” by Sir Hugh Casson, president of The Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, London.

His career spans more than 35 years and has given him much acclaim, along with numerous documentaries, articles, commercials, and endorsements. His first-ever commissioned artwork was to the late Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath, which was later sold at the Bonhams auction house, as well as Christies in London. His work is currently displayed in the Empire State Building in New York.

His advice to other artists is: “Do the best you can and never stop.” 

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Artist draws amazing and detailed cityscapes | This video captures the detail and depth of Stephen Wiltshire’s art.