The Summit - Venture Arts

Venture Arts is an organisation based in Manchester, and they have been working with learning disabled visual artists for the past thirty years.

"Venture Arts runs a range of artist led visual arts workshops for and with learning disabled artists from Manchester. Our vision is for learning disabled people to be valued contributors to the contemporary visual arts scene as audiences, participants, workers, educators and artists.

We work towards this vision by running artist led workshops in all visual art forms from our art studio in the centre of Manchester, by providing the space and capacity for learning disabled artists to make work ready to show and by showing their collective work in large scale shows in our region. We also run workshops in schools that are co-facilitated by learning disabled artists and run a work enrichment programme giving learning disabled people experiences of working within cultural environments. 

A key focus for development for Venture Arts currently is to look at ways in which we can help to build the professional careers of learning disabled visual artists and the invitation to be part of the International Summit for Learning Disabled Artists in Glasgow in March is an excellent opportunity for us to be able to do this. This also represents an exciting forum for us to meet with artists from across the globe and representatives from their supporting studios so that we can exchange experiences, draw new audiences to the work of learning disabled artists as well as opening up new conversations about learning disability art and its place in contemporary visual arts."

Venture Arts will show works by three artists, Horace Lindezey, Lesley Thompson and Justin Lees, with the two latter coming over for the event.

Lesley Thompson

Lesley is passionate about art and draws everything he sees. He lives for drawing. He has been drawing for as long as he can remember and particularly likes mixing text with his art to highlight the connections he makes to life through his art. He is fascinated by superheroes and collects and makes art with characters that he collects at home.

He has been a regular artist at Venture Arts studios for many years and through this has been able to extend his innate illustrative gifts into stitch, animation and printmaking. He is very fond of drawing in pen and ink but also likes to experiment in a range of mediums. His influences in his art come from comic books, music, TV shows and well known media people such as Elvis, Dolly Parton and actors from the 1970’s and 80’s.

Justin Lees

Justin is one of our youngest artists and has been working with us since he was 13.  He is a talented illustrator with a fantastic imagination. When he first came to Venture Arts Justin really wanted someone to help him make his “pictures move” and used to get frustrated that he didn’t know how make them do this.  At Venture Arts he made his first animation called “Stack’s in Jail” and since has blossomed and made many more.

Justin has a unique drawing style and his stories and illustrations mainly feature his family and friends, a villain of some description and often feature himself as the main character.  In addition to drawing he has a keen interest in watching animations, especially Pixar and Aardman animations, which are a huge influence on his work. Although only 18 Justin has already had some success with his artwork, gaining a commission from Children in Need in 2012 to make Terry Wogan’s 70th birthday card and having his artwork shown as a backdrop to rock band  ‘Inspiral Carpets’ gigs.

Horace Lindezey

Born and bred in Manchester Horace has been practising his art for over 30 years. He enjoys making a range of artworks and is a skilled illustrator, textile artist and ceramicist. He likes to explore the world around him, his local area, which is Moss Side, his family and influences from the media in his work.  Horace also has a particular interest in cakes, tapes, collecting ties and getting dressed up in one of many suits for “special occasional days”. 

His 30 years’ experience of making and creating means that he is proficient in lots of things but has an eye for detail and prefers to work on small and detailed drawings and textiles pieces.  Many of his textiles skills were learnt from watching his mother who was a dressmaker and her friends making dresses and knitting when he was a young boy. In addition to making art Horace has a passion for music, particularly reggae tunes and has an impressive collection of tapes and records. He is not a fan of CDs. He has shown his work widely in the North West of England and has had his work published in a number of Venture Arts publications

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