Paul Digby

David (Portraits of Emotions) Interview

Paula Boston, MSW, UKCP Family Psychotherapist, Director of Family Therapy Training in the Institute of Health Sciences at University of Leeds School of Medicine has interviewed each of the participants on there feelings about being the subject of portraiture. The interview transcripts featured alongside portraits in the exhibition and seem to read like a Play.

2/3 metres
acrylic Matt paint and oil bar

PAULASo you’re the….I’ve interviewed one other person who has had their picture
painted, about that experience, so you are number two for me to interview.
So, so as I said, I’m working at the university and one of the things I’m
interested in is how people have different feelings and different experiences.
Paul, the painter, was interested in how he can paint about people’s feelings
and the job that he wanted me to do was to talk to a couple of people and
see if he has captured their feelings in the portrait.

DAVID – Here she is (Carol Ann arrives)

Lots of voices over one another as people come and go at the same time…


CAROL ANNHow are you?

DAVIDI’m good.

CAROL ANNAre you ready to start?

PAULAYes, I’ve just begun to introduce myself so…

CAROL ANNIt’s nice to meet you and sorry about this morning.

PAULAThank you for your directions – I got here

Brief discussion of the directions and how and when Paula arrived.

PAULAWe thought we’d better get started because David was just starting to watch a movie and we didn’t want to interrupt
the movie watching. So…I’ve reminded, I’ve showed David the portrait again.

CAROL ANNYou remember that don’t you, yeah?

PAULAAnd introduced myself I am working the university and I’m interested in how people talk about their feelings and how
they feel about this picture that’s been painted of them. David has said that he is happy for me to interview him and
to record, we’ve looked at the recording device and we’ve tested it against the noise background so it seems to be working.
But before we kind of settle in is there anything that you want to ask Carol Ann? To add or ask?

CAROL ANNNot particularly. I mean I from David’s point of view, it just involved Paul and the photographer visiting us here at The Bridge
and that was it really, so to link that up with what is actually being produced at the end is a little confusing.

PAULASure it’s going to be hard for anybody and the big time gap as well. So I was explaining this is a really big, colourful picture,
it’s kind of huge and I hadn’t met you David so I didn’t know what you really looked like but I thought that was a fantastic picture.

CAROL ANNIt’s a pretty good likeness isn’t it?

PAULAAnd it’s also, it’s not a very boring picture it’s not you sitting very stiff, it’s got lots of life.

CAROL ANNBecause can you remember when Paul came with the photographer and we went down into the room off the corridor
there and can you remember what you said to me first of all?

DAVIDI’ve forgot

CAROL ANNShall I tell you, shall I remind you of what you said to me when they were talking about it. You said you
were shy! Which is most unlike you I have to say, and I was thinking ‘oh lord’! Are we going to get anything out of this?
But then, can you remember then you stood, they had the thing with the lights and the background and I sort of went
out of the way really.

DAVIDI did do that.

CAROL ANNYou did, yeah you did, then they got you moving, which is exactly you, it’s what you do! And then at the end
of it, do you remember, we looked at all the photographs that they’d taken, to see one which we all thought were good
but didn’t pick one at the time and then Paul went away and then came back suggesting this which was good because I
like this…

PAULADid you like that picture too?

DAVIDFavourite picture.

CAROL ANNIt’s your favourite picture.

PAULAWhy? Do you know why it’s your favorite?

DAVIDBecause I love that picture it’s fantastic!

CAROL ANNYes, but can you say why?

PAULAIs it your hands or your face?

DAVIDMy face.

PAULAYour face.

DAVIDI’ve got nice looking.

PAULAYou’ve got a nice look? Yeah you do?

CAROL ANNYes, yes….

DAVIDI like the joy around, like you when you’re around us.

CAROL ANNYou liked it when I was around?

DAVIDI like Carol because she makes me happy?

PAULASo Carol makes you happy. Do you call her Carol or Carol Ann?


DAVIDCarol Ann.

PAULAAnd being around her makes you happy?


PAULAIs it because she is funny or nice or makes a good cup of tea?

DAVIDShe’s funny, nice, kind really – yeah.

PAULAShe’s funny and – kind?

DAVIDKind yeah.

PAULASo when you look at her it reminds you of some of the kind things she’s done?


PAULAWas it sort of like when she came in and she sort of gave Paul a bit of telling off because he hadn’t shown you
the painting yet?


PAULASo she’s sort of looking after you in some ways? Is that…


CAROL ANNI….picked David because well I thought he would enjoy the experience, he would…you did, didn’t you?
Once you got over being shy and didn’t quite know what they wanted. And then they said just do moving around
and you really liked it.

PAULADavid, do you know why Carol Ann picked you? Why did she think you would enjoy the experience? What is it
about you that she knows? Can you guess? It’s a bit of a hard question.

DAVIDIt’s hard to say?

CAROL ANNHard to say.

PAULACould you just have a think about it?

PAULAYou know what I was wondering is when she was saying that you were a little bit shy but basically you weren’t shy
at all. And maybe, do you think she thought you would enjoy being the center of attention? That you would think
it would be fun to be focused on?


PAULACould that be it? Is that right? Have I guessed right?

CAROL ANNYes, I think sometimes, shy…you were shy in that particular situation because you didn’t know Paul and I
can’t remember the photographer’s name.

DAVIDNot that shy!

CAROL ANNNo you’re not, no. Well said, because you’re not, he’s not – usually. That particular situation at the beginning
made you feel a bit like that because it was an unknown thing. But I picked David because…

DAVIDBecause I’m a good person!

CAROL ANNWell yes, most of the time.

PAULABecause you are a good person.

CAROL ANNYes, most of the time let it be said. You’re like that when you are in the drama group, aren’t you?

PAULAOh, are you, you’re in the drama….?

CAROL ANNThis is the thing Paula…

PAULASo, you are not only a good person but you are a good drama person?


PAULASo do you like to play and act?

DAVIDI do songs.

CAROL ANNTell Paula what plays you’ve been in here? What was the first one you did?


CAROL ANNWhat did you play a policeman in?

DAVIDI’ve forgotten the name now.

PAULAOh you were a policeman!


DAVIDI can’t think!

CAROL ANNOliver! So that was quite a small part because you had just started coming to us hadn’t you?

DAVIDWhat was the part of the name – Frank is that Frank?

CAROL ANNI think we gave him a name, LAUGHS I don’t think that Charles Dickens did…

PAULAYou remembered his name. You were Frank the policeman in Oliver.

CAROL ANNyeah and then last year, well the one we’ve just done, what were you? What did you do?


CAROL ANNCan you remember? The Pantomime? Who did you play? Well I can’t remember now?

DAVIDWas I the young one.

CAROL ANNWas what?


CAROL ANNYes, in the gang, like the Rat Pack but what were you playing? Were you James Dean or somebody?

DAVIDNo, it were, the burger man.

CAROL ANNLAUGHS You were the burger man, I thought at one point you were playing…anyway, it was funny whatever wasn’t it?

DAVIDThat sign I think.

CAROL ANNYou had a sign didn’t you, looking for his burger?

DAVIDGoing up and down.

PAULAIt’s the main thing, that you like to do this kind of drama stuff. When you are in it, you are in it are you? You kind
of get really involved? You like doing it? You like being with people when you do it? Yes.

CAROL ANNTell Paula about, we went to see the opera, we went to see La Boheme.

DAVID LAUGHSIt was long!

CAROL ANNDidn’t we.

PAULAIt is long!

CAROL ANNIt is long but actually we got fantastic tickets, free tickets, didn’t we sitting in these posh seats and
a complementary programme so all the drama group and the staff went along. But, when you came back, can you
remember, you acted out….didn’t you. You acted out Mimi’s death didn’t you LAUGHS And we all got to watch
it, yes.

PAULAOh, I’m sorry I didn’t get to see that though.

DAVIDDo you want to see it one more time?

CAROL ANNWell, ask Paula if she’d like to see it?

PAULADo you want to show me Mimi’s death now?

CAROL ANNYou don’t have to.

PAULAAre you thinking of doing it?

CAROL ANNHe’s gearing himself up for it for it now?

DAVIDI don’t mind.

PAULAAre you going to show me, oh fantastic!

CAROL ANNCan you remember it David?

DAVIDI hope so.

PAULABecause she’s got a terrible, terrible cough, hasn’t she?

CAROL ANNIt was mime, it was more mime.

PAULADo you need a bed or anything?


PAULAOk, here we go, Mimi is very, very sick and she is dying and I haven’t seen La Boheme for a while so maybe
if you set the scene up?

CAROL ANNI think, I think yes…

PAULAASre we doing it now?


PAULAOh wow! Oh… Gosh, this is very sa.d

CAROL ANNExcellent! Very Good APPLAUDS – Don’t you think Paula?

PAULADavid, can I shake your hands, you are very, very, very serious actor!

CAROL ANNFull of emotion.

PAULAYou brought a lot of feeling to that. When you were watching her on stage, were you feeling very upset and sad?
Do you remember when you saw her?


PAULABecause you’ve carried that feeling into how you were here. Gosh that’s really powerful, and thank you, it’s very
generous of you to show me that. I feel like I’ve had an extra treat I didn’t even expect.

PAULASo, so, one of the things about this painting of you is that it’s really about a happy emotion. Do you remember that?


PAULADo you remember thinking about what feeling that you wanted to show in the picture? What kind of happy feeling?
Because that was a very sad feeling that you just showed me. Really, really sad. But in your picture you are
very different aren’t you?

CAROL ANNI think this…was that…do your GESTURING…do your hand thing.


PAULAYour hand thing? What’s this.

CAROL ANNYour hand thing. I can’t do it with one hand. Do your hand thing. When they got you to do that because
that was part of…was that linked up with when you were rehearsing the pantomime? I don’t know now.


PAULASo you’ve got two fingers down and a thumbs up.

CAROL ANNWhat are you feeling when you do that? With your hands?


CAROL ANNIt doesn’t matter…

PAULAIt’s hard to put into words isn’t it? Because it’s a feeling it’s sort of….Shall we try to guess and then you
tell us if we’ve got it? Would that help?


PAULAWere you feeling a bit, do you know what the word bolshy means, kind of cocky, kind of full of yourself, kind of
‘I’m cool, I’m really cool’.

DAVIDQUICKLY – Yeah cool! Bit cool

CAROL ANNDid you like, because I think by this stage they had taken quite a lot of photographs and you were getting into
the swing of it? I thought when I just popped back and watched and you were just sort of into it weren’t you. I
think….When you were doing, you did quite a few different moves with your hands and probably the movement,
moving, helped you to just enjoy it.

PAULAWSas it being playful in front of people watching you. Is that part of it too? Like you just did something fantastic
in front of me, and you don’t know me at all, really. But I really enjoyed seeing you, and I think you enjoyed
me seeing you?


PAULAI think you like it when you can please people through what you do, is that true? You kind of like that audience
appreciating you? Yeah? So is some of that going on then for you in this? Were you enjoying people enjoying you?


PAULADid you see Carol Ann’s face smiling at you when you were doing this?

DAVIDYeah – laughs.

PAULADid you like seeing her face be happy that you were having fun.

DAVIDYes I do.

CAROL ANNBut also I think Paul, and I think it was Joe, the photographer, they were sort of encouraging you weren’t they?
I think once you’d got over your nerves then you were just trying different things out for yourself weren’t you?
So you enjoyed having them as an audience as well.


PAULASo they got something out of being with you and you got something out of being with them too. It was sort of nice
all round, is that right?


PAULAI’m just, I’m just wondering, Carol Ann you were saying that David is shy a little bit but mostly he’s not shy.


DAVIDYou mean nervous?

PAULAIs it nervous?

CAROL ANNWas it nervous? Yes, I’m sorry, actually you are right. It wasn’t about shy. I think you said, no you are quite
right David. He said he was nervous with Paul and Joe. I stand corrected. That’s right yeah. You were nervous rather
than shy.

PAULAOh good, that’s an important difference.

CAROL ANNYes it is.

PAULAShall I just check out are you feeling nervous with me?

DAVIDSays something too quiet to hear.

CAROL ANNYou’re what?

DAVIDI don’t know.

CAROL ANNYou don’t know. Is it all these questions getting to you?


PAULAIs there anything I can do to help you feel more comfortable? Do you want to ask me a question or have Carol Ann ask
me a question just to turn the tables a bit?

DAVIDNot really.

CAROL ANNNot really no. I think it’s having to concentrate as well isn’t it?


CAROL ANNBeing in a concentrated situatio.n

PAULAShall I ask Carol Ann a question about her knowledge of you and then if you could listen to that and then see if she’s
got it right? How’s that? That gives you a bit of a breather.


PAULASo one of the things Carol Ann I’m interested in is kind of understanding more about the emotion in the portrait.
And not only at that time but a kind of history of that emotion. So, basically do you have experiences of David
feeling, the emotion he was talking about was sort of feeling cool wasn’t he. And there was a bit of playfulness
too and a bit of enjoying an audience. Do you have a history of David pre–dating the portrait that you
want to add to the story.



CAROL ANNWell I think….how long have you been coming here now? Two and a half years? And, I know you’ve always
liked performing haven’t you, and singing?


CAROL ANNAnd you do like being the centre of attention would you say David?


CAROL ANN – Yeah, you do. LAUGHS

PAULASo that’s not shy at all that’s very good.

CAROL ANNSo yeah. And…I think you are…a bit of a cool dude I would say. Wouldn’t you? You like dressing that
way, and just your mannerisms and your laugh


CAROL ANNAnd I think this picture, this picture sort of sums you up very well to me. And if I’d have had to choose
one of the photographs for Paul to paint it would have been something like this. Because I think also with using
your hands… that’s very much part of you as well, you know. Because some people don’t use their hands very much
when they communicate but you do. So, yeah I reckon…and also your mum has seen it.

PAULAShe has?

CAROL ANNYes and thinks it’s fantastic doesn’t she? Hmm?

DAVIDYes she does.

CAROL ANNAnd your step mum Jane as well, so they both think it’s a fantastic picture of you and obviously recognize you in that.
So it’s not that you, you know Paul has done something here that is really different from how you are at all, I think
he’s captured you extremely well – wouldn’t you say so?

PAULADo you agree with that?

DAVIDYeah I agree with that.

PAULAIt shows your coolness and your liking people to sort of pay attention to you. That sort of side of you.

CAROL ANNBecause we talked about shy, you know wrongly, but of course that isn’t a picture of a shy person is it at all – no.

PAULAIt looks like someone who wants to grab hold of life and make life fun. Is that part of you David, do you like to try
and make life fun.

DAVIDMmm I think it is, yeah

CAROL ANNYou enjoy life don’t you?

PAULAWhat was it, what’s it like to see this picture of you? How does that make you feel now that you’ve seen it?

DAVIDI feel great.

CAROL ANNYou feel great.



PAULAWhen other people see this picture hanging on a wall is there something else that you want them to understand
about you David?


CAROL ANNIs that a bit of a hard question.

DAVIDYes it is hard.

PAULAOk do you want Carol Ann to take a guess at it?

CAROL ANNListen, not long now. So listen, so you understand that this is just a photograph of the picture of the painting.
Because it is a painting and in a few month’s time, it’s going to be in an exhibition, because we talked about that didn’t
we. So it’s going to be in a gallery somewhere I think at the Tetley where we’ve been to haven’t we?


CAROL ANNThe Tetley gallery, we’ve done some things there with the college of art and stuff. So, I think it’s going to be at the Tetley.
So, we can all go there, anybody. I mean we’ll all go from The Bridge and your mum and Paul, and dad and Jane I’m sure
will go, and your other family members. And it’ll be this picture with others. So it won’t be just you in a room on your
own which you might quite like…

PAULAI think there are going to be four pictures.

CAROL ANNFour! So there are going to be four big pictures, four portraits and one of them is going to be of you. So, people you
know can see it but it’s open to anybody to see. Anybody who goes to the gallery will be able to see these pictures and be
able to see your picture.

DAVIDThat’s David!


CAROL ANNWell they’ll say, I hope it will say this is David.

PAULAIt will be.

CAROL ANNAnd Paula’s trying to ask – so how do you…when people…ok, let’s try this, when people look at the picture, people
who don’t know you, yeah. Who have never met you, who don’t know anything about you, is there something, anything,
that you would like those people, who don’t know you and have not met you,that you’d like to know about you?
Do you understand what I’m saying?


PAULAAre you thinking?

DAVIDI’m trying to.

PAULAWell I’ve got, David, I’ve got a question. Would you like people to know how old you are? LAUGHS Because I don’t know how
old you are, and the other woman who I interviewed did tell me how old she was and I thought that was nice to know.
Would you like to say how old you are? You don’t have to say how old you are.

DAVIDI will. 31.

PAULA31, ok. And people are going to get to read what we’ve been talking about on, you know, sheets of paper, it will be typed up.
So what they are going to know is not only this beautiful picture of you. But they are also going to know that you are an
actor and that you shared your acting with me while we were talking, which is fantastic. They won’t know whether, what you
like to do in your spare time or whether you have a dog at home or not, or whether you’ve got any brothers or sisters, or,
whether you like coming to this centre. So those things they won’t know unless you want to tell me.

DAVIDI’ve got one dog now.

PAULAYou’ve got a dog?

DAVIDJust one. He’s a Pomeranian and he’s called Pixie.

END OF FIRST RECORDING – SECOND RECORDING STARTS IN THE MIDDLE OF SOME CONVERSATION ABOUT SOMETHING THAT DAVID IS SHOWING PAULA GAP In Recording – As I was leaving, David mentioned that he had been given an award and he took me to see it.

PAULAOk, tell me about that David, what is this certificate?


PAULAIt’s a certificate for friendship? And you just got this last week I hear, is that right? It’s new


PAULAAnd you had to be someone who was good at making friends to get this? Yeah?

CAROL ANNYeah, so…it was Learning Disability Week last week wasn’t it? Lots of different things that we were
involved with doing weren’t we?


CAROL ANNYes, like…? Can you think of anything? You went to Meanwood Fest didn’t you at Meanwood Valley Farm?
(We organised a barbecue and a disco at Meanwood Valley Farm.) And then you received this certificate at the Adult
Social Care Customer Achievement Awards at the John Charles Centre yeah? And there were different categories weren’t
they, and people could nominate whoever…some of the categories were for achievement in sport and employment,
volunteering, fundraising and most creative person, and then this was for friendship. Being a good friend, wasn’t it?


CAROL ANNDo you know who nominated you?

DAVIDSighs – Don’t know.

CAROL ANNYou don’t know.

PAULABut you were telling me about lots of friends you’ve got here so it makes sense that you would be seen as a good friend.

CAROL ANNYeah absolutely.

PAULADo you know what I’m thinking David? I could take a picture of you holding that in front of your chest.

CAROL ANNYeah good idea.

PAULAAnd then I could just tag that onto the interview? How would that be? Would you like that?

CAROL ANNThat would be good. Let’s get a nice background.

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