Leslie Thompson (b.1970)


Leslie Thompson has a highly developed drawing style, drawing both from memory and through live observational drawings.

Artist Biography


Leslie has been attending Venture Arts studios for over twenty years. He has a highly developed drawing style, drawing both from memory and through live observational drawings. Leslie depicts scenes from popular culture, mostly from the seventies and eighties, and his drawings are often punctuated with memories from film, music and TV. More recently animals have been a major inspiration to him.


He has gained a reputation as a fantastic mural artist, creating bespoke murals in the head offices of LADbible and Sheila Bird Group in Manchester. He also specialises in capturing events through live drawing, and has worked with DadaFest, Creative Minds North, Hubbub Theatre as well as illustrating many Venture Arts events.


Leslie found success when he sold a whole body of work on the opening day of the OutsiderXchanges project booth at The Manchester Contemporary, 2016. He has exhibited his work widely across the UK including a major solo exhibition at Project Ability, Glasgow in 2017. In 2019 he exhibited internationally for the first time as part of a group exhibition in Tokyo.


In 2021 Leslie’s intricate piece, ‘Animals from Memory’ was acquired by the Government Art Collection  – as part of their Art X-UK acquisitions. Over the year, the Government Art Collection collaborated with contemporary art networks to collect new works by 45 visual artists from across the UK, celebrating and supporting the diversity of creativity across the Union. ‘Animals from Memory’ will now be on display in Government offices around the world.


“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




In the Detail, Project Ability, Glasgow International Festival 2020 (postponed until 2021)


Thumbs Up, Castlefield Gallery, January 2020


Environments, Outside In, National Open Art Exhibition, London, October 2019


Venture Arts at The Manchester Contemporary, Manchester Central, 11- 13 October 2019


Manifest Arts Festival, Hulme, Manchester, July 2019


Grow, Group ceramics exhibition as part of Hey Clay! Crafts Council, Venture Arts, Manchester, May 2019


Springfest, Victoria Baths, Manchester, April 2019


ParaArt TOKYO, International exhibition promoting the art and culture of people with learning disabilities in Japan and the world, Japan, February 2019


PERSPECTIVES, Venture Arts, various venues in Manchester and Salford, October 2018 – February 2019


Spilling Out, Joint presentation with Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts, The Manchester Contemporary, Manchester Central, Manchester 2018


Leslie Thompson, the Superstar Artist Drawer, Project Ability, Glasgow, August- September 2017


OutsiderXchanges, Quay Gallery, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, 2016


OutsiderXchanges, The Manchester Contemporary, Old Granada Studios, 2016


It Is Now, International Summit for Learning Disabled Artists, Glasgow, 2015


MADE, Venture Arts Studio Show, People’s History Museum, Manchester, 2015


The Art of Nature, Venture Arts Studio Show, The Lowry, Salford Quays, 2014


Articulate, Venture Arts Studio Show, The Lowry , Salford Quays, 2013



Live drawings:


Social Works?:Live, Axisweb and Manchester Metropolitan University, May 2019


Age of Creativity Conference, The Whitworth, May 2019


Creative Minds North, HOME, Manchester, June 2017


Dadafest, Live Drawing, Liverpool, 2017



Site Specific Mural commissions:


The LADbible HQ, Manchester, 2018


The Sheila Bird Group Head Office, Manchester, 2017