King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Wednesday, July 1

Stephen Wiltshire

Autism, as I'm sure our friend Ricardipus will concur, is an interesting condition. Made famous in the 1987 film Rainman, it highlighted how a person can live in a shell. The world is seen from deep inside, and any change to that view is distressing and sudden. A child with autism can be quiet and happy, then suddenly find they're incredibly upset and with no foreseeable reason.
But, for some strange reason, the brain is completely rewired. With a lot of people with Autism, the term Savant comes into play. Made famous, again by Rainman, this highlights how the brain is rewired, sometimes with incredible effect. Be it musical skill, or the ability to complete complex mathematics, or in the case of this week's video, artistic levels that will have your chin on the floor as you're wowed by this young man.
Stephen Wiltshire was first highlighted to us in 1987, aged 11, on a BBC programme called Q.E.D. He was highlighted in newspapers, following where he sat and watched St Pancras Station for half an hour, and when he returned to class he did the most detailed drawing, showing every window, every doorway, every little detail. He went on to leave school and set up his own gallery, and sells his drawings on the internet here. He still has a severe mental disability, which this week's video highlights when he's talking (interestingly, his first ever word was "paper"), but his talent for being a "human camera" is unsurpassed. Watch this week's video, and you'll see him survey an aerial view of Rome for 45 minutes, before putting it to paper 15 feet wide. Then, when they mention that it takes him 3 days, he explains that if he had more time, it would be more detail (!). It makes you wonder what he sees, does he see the image and copy it to the paper, or does he see the image on the paper, and he just traces it? All in all, it's amazing.