Doctors didn’t have high hopes for Stephen Wiltshire when they diagnosed him with autism in 1977. At that point, the London boy hadn’t spoken a word in his life, nor could he relate to other people. His parents initially assumed he’d just take a little longer to begin speaking and socializing, but they were warned that Stephen probably wouldn’t accomplish much.
Today, however, those words couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only is Stephen thriving personally, but he’s also inspiring the world with his impressive artistic talent!
Stephen was 5 years old when people began recognizing his capacity for greatness. The little boy started attending Queensmill School, which is specifically designed for children with autism. There, teachers noticed him drawing animals and then branching into sketches of London buses and buildings!
His teachers suspected his desire to draw might encourage him to speak, and they were right! They waited to give him supplies in hopes that he would ask for them, and that’s when his said his first word: “paper.”
From that point on, he’s only moved forward! He was talking like most kids his age by the time he was 9, only a year after he received his first commission to sketch the Salisbury Cathedral — from none other than Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher!
As Stephen matured, so did his talent. In 1998, he graduated from the City & Guilds of London Art School. He’d already published multiple books full of his drawings and went on to sketch unbelievably detailed panoramas from memory.
Today, his art is shown around the world and at his gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade, amazing countless people. And it’s not hard to see why. Stephen can accurately replicate an entire cityscape in days after briefly observing it from a helicopter. He’s done so for cities including Sydney, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Moscow, Venice, and of course, London.
In other words, Stephen has become more successful than anyone could have imagined! More importantly, he’s found what makes him happy: being an artist. His sister Annette said that’s what people should focus on instead of his diagnosis.
“Stephen has no understanding of autism,” she told The Guardian. “However, he does understand that he is an artist — an artist in his own right.”
Stephen has such an incredible gift and serves as a powerful role model! Just like him, we don’t have to let others’ assumptions limit what we can do. We’re all capable of so much more than we think.
Learn more about Stephen in the video below, and share his talent with the world!
Share your story & inspire the world.