The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

January 6, 2013

Others enjoy Wiltshire’s gift of memory

While sitting typing this article it is Dec. 26, 2012, the very chilly day after Christmas.

I know when each article is due and that it should be started early enough for it not to become a procrastinator’s nightmare, but never do. Knowing from past experience (memories) that I will always get it finished and that I think better when I am pushed a bit, as in a deadline, or someone with more authority than me saying “This needs to be done by….” How many others are like this when it comes to a deadline?

Now that I’ve gotten this out of my system, here’s hoping that everyone had a good Christmas. Since we are all vulnerable to the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas, it only seems logical that memories, both childhood and grownup, serve to create our own ideas of what Christmas should be. Memories encompass a large part of who we are and what we feel. My tea is ready, how about yours?

Artists are people who draw, paint, sculpt, or use whichever medium they choose to express themselves. An artist can do this through the use of imagination, observation, or memory. An artist may be good at all three, but another artist may only be good at one or two. The older we get the more files we have in our memory folder to draw from, and at times they can be more difficult to bring up. Because of this, occasionally when drawing or painting from memory, the image in the artist’s brain may be skewed and the artist cannot properly place it on paper. If only we could find a way to photograph the important things we see and store in our brain.

When drawing from memory there is an artist who takes this idea of drawing from memory to dramatic new heights, quite literally. His name is Stephen Wiltshire, and he draws from only his memory, but what a memory he has. Wiltshire, having been diagnosed with severe autism when he was three, went to school in London and was in special education classes. Having been previously unable to speak, these teachers diligently worked with Wiltshire until he learned to talk. If you were to invite Wiltshire on a short helicopter ride over a busy city you would be amazed at what happened when he returned.

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