Artist Draws New York City From Memory After A 45 Minute Helicopter Ride

If you listen to the Alicia Keys song, ‘Empire State Of Mind’, you’ll hear about all the amazing sights of the most famous city on the planet; New York City.

The city is perhaps the most infamous location in popular culture. From being the setting to some of television’s most loved shows (Friends, Mad Men, Sex And The City etc), to Hollywood’s most iconic scenes (King Kong climbing the Empire State Building or Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grate in The Seven Year Itch) – everyone wants to visit the Big Apple!

And despite the fact so many of us know and love NYC, how many of us could draw it, in great detail, from memory? Yep , didn’t think so.

However, now a renowned artist from the UK has done just that. Stephen Wiltshire has gained international recognition for his amazing artwork, and has now created a mind-blowing etching of the New York City skyline – all from memory – following just a 45 minute helicopter ride above the city.

The artist started his masterpiece on October 11, and worked tirelessly for FIVE days in order to complete it. The sheer level of detail and scale of this piece of art with leave you breathless!

On Monday night, Stephen’s artistic experience came to a fitting end with a signing ceremony at the Empire State Building.

In a press release by Anthony E Malkin, Chairman and CEO of the Empire State Realty Trust, he expressed how “Stephen Wiltshire has a truly special gift, an enormous talent. To have the chance to have Stephen in residence at the Empire State Building is truly an honor, and for him to allow our guests to watch him work is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

And we couldn’t agree more.

The final product measures approximately the same size as a large gallery wall, and was completed using just pen and pencil. Close up, viewers can appreciate the pristine detail that Wiltshire has managed to remember and convey on the canvas.

This is not the first cityscape created by Wiltshire entirely from memory, as he has created similar masterpieces in cities such as Tokyo, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem, Sydney, Shanghai, Istanbul, Mexico City and Rome.

Wiltshire has been using art to express himself ever seen he was diagnosed with autism since the age of three. It was so severe that he didn’t even speak until his was five years old (his first word was “paper”). However, even as a child, Wiltshire showed so much artistic talent, even receiving his first commission from the British Prime Minister when he was just eight years old.

His amazing and somewhat super human ability to remember so much detail from memory stems from his autism, and has earned him the nickname of “The Human Camera”.

In 2006 he was honored as a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the world of art. Later that year, he went on to open an art gallery at the Royal Opera Arcade in London.

His New York skyline must hold a special place in his heart, and he revealed in the press release:

‘After many, many years of traveling and sketching cities across the globe, I always come back to Manhattan as a place for inspiration. The Empire State Building has long been my favorite building in the world, and while I had the opportunity to sketch it in 2015, this is a unique commission which has me really excited.’  

We can’t wait to see wait Stephen is going to do next!

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