Born in Oxford, Vanessa Gardiner studied first at Oxford Polytechnic 1978 – 79, and then at Central School of Art and Design in London 1979 – 82. Since graduating her work has been consistently shown in solo exhibitions in London and regularly throughout the UK. She has received a number of awards and residencies in England, Ireland and Greece including the British School at Athens - Prince of Wales Bursary for the Arts and her paintings are held in numerous public and corporate collections including the British Academy, British School at Athens, Greece, New Hall, Cambridge and Magdalen College, Oxford, Bournemouth University, Huddersfield City Art Gallery, The Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Co. Mayo, Ireland, and in many private collections worldwide.

She lives and works in West Dorset.