Offcanvas Wave

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Venture Arts, 43 Old Birley Street, Manchester, M15 5RF

+44 0161 232 1223

We’re always happy to hear from journalists and writers who are interested in Venture Arts and our work. Please contact Debbie Cowley, Marketing and Communications Officer, on 0161 232 1223 or email


Leslie Thompson

Leslie has been based at Venture Arts studios for over thirty years, is widely exhibited and features in significant collections both in the UK and overseas.

Leslie has been based at Venture Arts studios for over 30 years and uses paint, ink or ceramics to illustrate his life, his past, his family, growing up in Moss Side in 70s and 80s, entire film sequences and a rich variety of animals, all from memory. Leslie works at extremes of small and large scale, and adds fantasy elements to the real world, combining his mother at the Arndale Market with TV characters and superheroes. Leslie’s work is part of the Government Art Collection and is widely shown, recently at TJ Boulting, London

Often commissioned to produce live drawings, Leslie has gained a reputation as one of Britain’s most dynamic mural artists. His work has been exhibited widely across the UK, including exhibitions at The Lowry, Salford (2023), TJ Boulting, London (2022), Paper Gallery, Manchester (2022) and in 2019, his work was exhibited in Tokyo. In 2021 Leslie’s intricate piece, ‘Animals from Memory’ was acquired by the Government Art Collection.

Early in 2023 Leslie was selected to take part in a collaborative project between the Royal Society of Sculptors and Art et al. Leslie was also commissioned in 2023 by the Government Art Collection, along with nine other selected British artists, to create new artworks in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III. His work is held in private and public collections across the UK and internationally.

Leslie Thompson's exhibitions and events

  • Kaleidoscopic Realms 3rd Nov 2024
  • Manchester Open 2024 28th Apr 2024
  • VA Collectives | Narratives 30th Nov 2023
  • Making Together 24th Nov 2023
  • YESS LAD 15th Jul 2023
  • In the Detail, Project Ability

    Glasgow International Festival,

  • Thumbs Up

    Castlefield Gallery,

  • Environments, Outside In

    National Open Art Exhibition, London,

  • Venture Arts at The Manchester Contemporary

    Manchester Central,

  • Manifest Arts Festival

    Hulme, Manchester,

  • Springfest

    Victoria Baths, Manchester,

  • ParaArt TOKYO, International exhibition promoting the art and culture of people with learning disabilities in Japan and the world


  • Spilling Out, Joint presentation with Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts

    The Manchester Contemporary, Manchester Central,

  • It Is Now, International Summit for Learning Disabled Artists,


  • MADE, Venture Arts Studio Show

    People’s History Museum, Manchester,

  • The Art of Nature, Venture Arts Studio Show

    The Lowry, Salford Quays,

  • Articulate, Venture Arts Studio Show

    The Lowry , Salford Quays,

See more

My art is about cartoon strips, buildings, people and other things. I’m the best at drawing animals, I see them at the safari park. I’m proud of myself, I’m a superstar. My art is of all history of god’s world we live in.

Leslie Thompson's ink cartoon of the Vixen
Leslie Thompson, Safari Picture, the changed world, 2018
Leslie Thompson, NU_BIA, 1973
Leslie Thompson's cartoon drawing of Monica Rambeau in 1982


We are delighted when people want to commission work from us and our artists. This can either be as a group project or an individual artist creating one of their unique pieces for you.

To find out more and to arrange a studio visit please contact Katherine Long on 0161 232 1223 or email

An arm holding a white pen leaning over a large piece of art painted orange.