Lesley Ruda was born and raised in Zimbabwe and now lives and works in San Francisco, California. She went to England to study for a BFA at Saint Martin's School of Art, London, graduating in 1976, and stayed in the UK for 20 years before moving to San Francisco in 1993.

In the 70s to 90s Lesley worked as an editorial cartoonist for national UK magazines and publishers and was one of four founding members of Sourcream, producing the first feminist cartoon book (1979) in the UK. She also worked as a paint contractor, muralist and decorative painter.

In the US she began painting on furniture to produce unique pieces that were a hybrid of decorative and fine art, selling these at Wilkes Bashford and Shears & Windows, SF, and other designer showrooms and stores around the US. She received commissions from designers, architects and private clients, sourcing furniture from auctions and thrift stores, and produced a production line of hand painted tables made by master furniture maker Ed Clay in Napa.

Lesley taught advanced classes in tromp l’oeil painting at Paint Effects, SF.  In the 90s she exhibited in group shows at former Terrain Gallery on Minna Street, SF, and had work in the Rene di Rosa Preserve (unfortunately work destroyed in the Napa earthquake of 2014).

In 2009 Lesley entered the healthcare profession, graduating from San Jose State University in 2012 with MS in occupational therapy. She parted from design work and continued making fine art. She works part time at Laguna Honda Hospital.  Lesley’s work is a testimony to the exploration of diverse work and life experiences.


2018, Inking Women, 250 years of Women Cartoon and Comic Artists in Britain, Cartoon Museum, London, 

1990’s: Group shows: Terrain, Virginia Breier, New Langton Arts, Visual AID, Show ‘n Tell, Overtime (San Francisco); Plate and Palette, Berkeley; Sandro’s Gallery, Harare, Zimbabwe.

1996, Rene di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Napa, California.

Private collectors USA, Europe, Africa, Australia.


2018, Inking Women, 250 years of Women Cartoon and Comic Artists in Britain, Nicola Streeten & CathTate, Myriad Editions.

1997, Living Room, Diane Dorrans Saeks, Chronicle Books.

1996, Damn Fine Art, Cherry Smyth, Cassell.

1991, Paintwise,  Jocasta Innes, Reed International.

1979, Sourceam,  Sourcream feminist cartoonist collective.

1977-1991, Cartoon illustration for national magazines and book publishers in the UK: New Statesman, Spare Rib, Feminist Review, Women’s Review, Cosmopolitan, Honey,  Harraps, British Film Institute, National Union of Public Employees, Trades Union Council;  and Zimbabwe Department of Health, Zimbabwe National Conservation Trust.