SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2014

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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M E E T I N G I N D I V I D U A L N E E D S Stephen Wiltshire, Artist Extraordinaire 12 December 2014 SchoolArts Continued on page 42. studying for a few minutes, then drawing an ornate and complex build- ing in detail while sitting with his back to the actual structure. There are many individuals who have supported Wiltshire as an art- ist. His family encouraged him to do things he enjoyed, and Sir Hugh Casson, former president of the Royal Academy, is responsible for helping Wiltshire gain admittance to City & Guilds Art College, a prestigious art school in England. Casson gave Wilt- shire the distinguished title of "the most talented child artist in the his- tory of England." He described Wilt- shire's ability to draw as resembling "embroidery." The Stephen Wiltshire Gallery Wiltshire's Gallery is located at 5 Royal Opera Arcade near Trafalgar Square in London. His family man- ages the sales of his artwork to many eager London residents and tourists from around the world. The first time he sees to make masterly, highly detailed drawings. BBC's QED has pro- duced a number of television specials about his unusual talent and skill as a young visual artist. The first, called The Foolish Wise Ones, shows how the then eleven-year-old Wiltshire was inspired to draw. He is shown pointing to a church in London from a bus window and saying, "Look, a church." Later that day, in school, Wiltshire confidently draws the church with a pencil on white paper. The second film, called The Boy Who Draws Buildings, is about the adolescent Wiltshire's tour of Ven- ice and Moscow. His former teacher turned agent, Margaret Hewson, trav- eled with Wiltshire through Europe to execute commissioned drawings for one of his illustrated books, Float- ing Cities (Michael Joseph Ltd., 1991). In one scene, you can view Wiltshire S tephen Wiltshire is a celebrated British artist who was diag- nosed with autism at age three and drew spontaneously at age two. By age five, Wiltshire was preoc- cupied with drawing cars, animals, and people. By age ten, he was drawing incredibly detailed cars and landmark buildings from memory. In his book, An Anthropologist on Mars (Knopf Doubleday, 1996), Oliver Sacks states that Wiltshire's early drawings dem- onstrated a "prodigious visual mem- ory, which seemed able to take in the most complex buildings, or cityscapes, in a few seconds, and to hold them in mind, in the minutest detail— indefinitely, it seemed—with the least apparent effort." Vision & Interpretation It's important to stress that Wiltshire can interpret—not merely copy—what By age ten, Wiltshire was drawing incredibly detailed cars and landmark buildings from memory. Gillian J. Furniss

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