Paul Digby

Gaynor (Potraits 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.

1.5/2 metres
acrylic Matt paint and oil bar

Paula begins the recording – turning on Recording No. 2 – Fingers crossed!

PAULAI may repeat what you say for the sake of the machinery.

PAULABy way of a warm up question, I have not heard the name ‘Gaynor’ before. Is there
a nice story about your name?

GAYNORAll I know is ‘Gaynor’ is Welsh, but I’m not Welsh.

PAULAMy mother’s mother was Welsh and I named by youngest daughter Caitlin just because
of the Welsh connection – which is not really Welsh! So we have a Welsh
connection that isn’t really Welsh.

Do you know what it means in Welsh – we will have a look it up?


PAULAThe first question is ‘how would you like to introduce yourself, Gaynor?

GAYNORI am Gaynor, I am a physically impaired woman who would like to promote positivity in disability and get rid of the stigma of it always having negativity.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said.

GAYNORIf there are disabled people in soap operas, they are always portrayed negatively and they always have some kind
of chip on their shoulder.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said and adds what’s the word we can fit in?

GAYNOR It’s annoying. I do a lot of drama work and am currently working on a play that I will be performing at the Thackeray Museum.

PAULAThe Thackeray Museum – I work in the Charles Thackeray Building – what are you playing – what’s the role?

GAYNORThe play is based on workhouses in the 1800s, The Thackeray museum used to be the Leeds Workhouse.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said.

GAYNORThat is one of the reasons why we are performing it there.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said and adds that it sounds fascinating. So acting it has both your political commitment
and contains history as well.

GAYNORI have performed in the Edinborough fringe a long time ago.

PAULAWow that’s exciting and as I am beginning to get to know you I can get a sense of your commitment to performance art
and political causes that are dear to your heart.


PAULACan I ask you the next question – is there anything else you would want to add to your introduction – you haven’t said how
old you are – you may not want to! (Paula and Gaynor laugh).


PAULAYou can take that out if you want to! (laughing).

GAYNORI was always told I would be lucky to get to my 20s.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said and adds – you’ve fooled them and you are looking in good shape.

PAULAHow did you get to know Paul Digby?

GAYNORHe came here as a WEA Teacher and did a mosaic project.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said and Gaynor explains that the WEA is the Workers Education Association.

GAYNORI had quite a lot of arguments ‘cos I kept saying that I get frustrated because my body won’t to what my mind wants to do
– and Paul said that it was fine and I said ‘no it isn’t’ – ‘it looks like what a baby does’.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said.

GAYNORThen we could employ a one to one worker and that was a lot better because you could tell her what to do.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said and adds that you could let the art look like you wanted it to be and what you had in mind.

PAULAWhat attracted you to this particular project –a picture of you – was it vanity (laughs).

GAYNORNo No – laughing – no not vanity – I don’t like looking at myself – I don’t know why I agreed ‘ cost I don’t really like
looking at myself.

PAULABut there is something that made you agree – what was it?

GAYNORI liked Paul and he asked me to take part – it was nice that Paul asked me and we discussed the project – and I was
interested and it was good that it would promote a more positive image.

PAULA Repeats Gaynor’s last comments.

GAYNORIf you look at the picture it does not portray a poor cripple.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said.


PAULAIs there anything you want to say about this project?

GAYNORPaul wants me to see the work in progress but we can’t work out a way to get there.

PAULA Repeats what Gaynor has said.

GAYNORBecause of the size of my chair – I can’t get it into a taxi.

PAULA Repeats what Gaynor has said adding that’s frustrating. It was nice of him to send a photo before we met – you have
a small picture of it but it is huge!

GAYNORLooks like it – I have problems visualizing it but it is on the last email – and oh my goodness – it is massive.

PAULAIt’s massive we can see the ladder against it. It would be interesting to hear his technique.

GAYNORI don’t know how he’s done it.

PAULAHow do you feel so far about being in the project which includes having your photo taken, selecting the photograph,
the painting and being interviewed by me.

GAYNORGood, as I am quite a negative person inside so it’s good to express the more positive sense of myself and I like that.

PAULARepeats what Gaynor has said adding that Paul wants to express positive task. Which emotion did you chose to be part
of that painting?

GAYNORIt was a long time since we did it but it must have been happiness.

PAULARepeats Gaynor’s reply.


PAULAWhy this emotion.

GAYNORHappiness is the most positive feeling.

PAULAAsking this as a therapist, when did you experience this feeling?

GAYNORI’ve had a lot of therapy. When I was younger I used to go on demonstrations for disability and would be with other
charities like Children in Need.

PAULARepeats Gaynors reply.

GAYNORI was against the way they put disabled people on TV and got them to beg.


GAYNORCelebrities were saying – you can make life a lot better.

PAULARepeats this and adds but that’s not true?

GAYNORLife is what you make of it.

PAULARepeats this. – what made you feel happy at those times?

GAYNORJust the fact that I was out there and being recognized as a person.

PAULARepeats this phrase.

GAYNORAnd not just someone in a wheelchair. I have a sticker which I have not put on yet. It says ‘This is a wheelchair, not
a hearing aid. Pat my head and I’ll break your bloody legs’ PISS ON PITY.

GAYNORLoads of people pat you on the head and do not think you go out and spend money to get your hair done or the fact that
you are not a dog.

PAULARepeats this and adds, being in a position where you can challenge those ways of being with people who are disabled
makes you feel better and brings pleasure to your life. Does it get people to take you more seriously as a thinking woman?

GAYNORI would like to think so but wonder if when I am acting they get to look at me in a different light and not just see the wheelchair.

PAULARepeats this.

PAULAHow does it feel when you saw the small version of the portrait – it will be different when you see the whole room size.



GAYNORI don’t look that big any more – laughs.

GAYNORI have always had an issue about my weight – when carers come they tell me. I went away the other week and they say
I have lost nearly a stone since October on the Healthy Living Programme. I have started going to the accessible gym.

PAULAYou like that – Paul will have to shrink the picture.

GAYNORI think it is very very good.

PAULAIt is good and exciting to see.


PAULADo you feel a sense of happiness?

GAYNORYou can see how he has captured the smile in my eyes.

PAULARepeats this phrase – there is a colour picture on the internet – anything else you like?

GAYNORWhenever I have my photo taken I go into spasm – he has captured my spasm face – he has captured it well.

PAULAAre you happy about that – it’s part of you?

GAYNORYes, I am.

PAULAThis interview is a chance for you to add in words what you would like to go next to the painting, which will add
to the experience of the audience.

GAYNORI hope this promotes a positive image without the wheelchair.

PAULAWould you want to add the bumper sticker story which shows your sense of humour– anything else to add to the interview?

PAULAWe will put your words next to the painting and add to people’s experience.

GAYNORTo promote a positive image – you can’t tell I’m disabled ‘cos there’s no wheelchair.

The bumper sticker will make Paul laugh.

PAULAIt will show you have a sense of humour.


PAULAI have enjoyed it.

© Portraits of Emotions 2014 Terms, Conditions & Privacy Accessibility

0 Responses to this post
Add your comment

six + 1 =