Born on April 2, 1910 in London, Snead began painting in the 1920s. She studied with the French Abstractionist Amédée Ozenfant in the mid 1930s, where she met and became lifelong friends with Leonora Carrington. It was through her relationship with Carrington that she was introduced to the Surrealist circle. Her work would be forever influenced. In 1939, with the outbreak of WWII, Snead moved to the United States, where she lived mainly in New York City and Taos, N.M., for the next decade. She then traveled extensively throughout India. Snead stopped painting to pursue photography in 1950 but returned to painting in the late 1980s. Her early canvases are populated by strange bird creatures and dramatic landscapes. Recognition returned to her in 2005. One of her paintings was included in Surrealism USA, a major exhibition of American Surrealism at the National Academy Museum in New York. She died of natural causes in New York City in 2006 at the age of 96.