Paul Digby

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Portraits of Emotions

A reference for the project was Charles Darwin’s Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. In this Darwin uses photographs made by Duchenne de Boulogne of The Old Man. Boulogne attached electrodes to the mans face to evoke specific emotions, the man was not meant to have nerve endings in his face so he supposedly could not feel any pain. Digby created a painting of the man without the electrodes and in full colour to give this unsung hero some due credit.

This idea was a catalyst for the concept of drawing portraits of people expressing emotions. The Drawings from this series also reference George Seurat’s drawing techniques.

The project involved Chapelallerton Primary School where Paul delivered a Portrait workshop to sixty Year One children. Some of these works were displayed in the Union105 Gallery alongside his own drawings. Paul’s portraits were also shown in the University of Leeds School of Medicines Charles Thackrah Building, the Manchester Science Festival and ESA Warren Street Gallery.