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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 attending Venture Arts studios for over thirty years. He has a highly developed drawing style.

Leslie has been attending Venture Arts studios for over thirty 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.

In 2022 Leslie took part in Narratives, the third in our pioneering Conversations Series, in which artists from Venture Arts work alongside other contemporary artists over several months, producing new work through an equal exchange of art and ideas. This collaboration resulted in an exhibition at The Lowry in January 2023.

Most recently, in 2023, Leslie was commissioned by the Government Art Collection, along with nine other British artists, to create new artworks in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III. Find out more about this commission here.

Leslie Thompson's exhibitions and events

  • Making Together 24th Nov 2023
  • YESS LAD 15th Jul 2023
  • Conversations Series III: Narratives 26th Feb 2023
  • Narratives: The Julie Party 2nd Dec 2022
  • YESS LAD 19th Nov 2022
  • 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.