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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Page 46 of 54

42 December 2014 SchoolArts I visited in 2006, the first floor was crowded with Wiltshire's admirers. Wiltshire agreed to give me a tour of his art gallery starting on the second floor. He was gentle, charming, and so at ease with himself. His sister cau - tioned me earlier that he was not able to answer questions such as how long it took him to complete a drawing or painting, or the duration of his art pro - cess for a specific work of art, so I asked him concrete questions. He knew the exact year when he made each of his works of art on display. When I asked what he liked to draw best, he said cars and boats. I asked why, and he said because of their shapes. "And because they move?" I asked. "Yes," he said, "they can go fast." The second time I visited his art gallery, a year later, I was able to watch Wiltshire do a sketch while he was seated in a chair near a window. The act of his drawing seemed so casual and pleasurable. I watched in wonder as he moved his pencil across the paper with calculating precision. Wiltshire's website (stephenwilt- is an excellent resource for teachers and students to learn about the artist. There are several links where you can view his artwork and find out how to purchase books of his drawings. You can also purchase his original artwork or prints, and sign-up to receive his monthly newsletter. The website also features several videos that capture his extraordinary art pro- cess. Gillian Furniss is adjunct professor of art education at Kean University in New Jer- sey. gillian.furniss@ W E B L I N K Continued from page 12. 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 Decamber 2014 SchoolArts Continued on page 41. 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 I visited in 2006, the first floor 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 studying for a few minutes, then 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 draw- ing incredibly detailed cars and land- mark buildings from memory. In his book, An Anthropologist on Mars (Knopf Double- day, 1996), Oliver Sacks states that Wiltshire's early drawings demon- strated a "prodigious visual memory, 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 Gillian J. Furniss GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER. LIVE UNITED ™ Want to make a difference? Find out how at LIVEUNITED.ORG. HOW DO YOU INSPIRE? Share your lesson plans and teaching ideas with SchoolArts . WritersGuidelines.

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