Martin Dunn Traditional Painter Staffordshire Q&A
I asked Martin Dunn Traditional Painter Staffordshire a few questions, to provide some background to how he arrived at this point in his career. Although Martin is very serious about his decorating work, and knows the trade inside out, especially what is wrong with it, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and keeps us royally entertained, and on our toes.
What part of the UK do you cover for Traditional Painter?
Staffs mainly, into bits of Shropshire, Cheshire and West Midlands.
At what age did you first wield a paint brush for money? And for how much?
16 years old on the great? YTS scheme, for about £25 a week and 10 Benson.
Can you briefly outline your formal training?
Left school with a CSE in woodwork and a 20-a-day smoking habit.
YTS for Henry Boots. Moved to CITB Painting & Decorating YTS who put me with Two Jays ltd, a medium sized company in Dudley. They allowed me to complete my 3 years at college on day release towards my City and Guilds Advanced.
1 year of supplementary studies at night school after my advanced. Sadly, public houses got the better of me and I didn’t complete.
Who do you consider your “mentor” in your early years, and why? (Name names!)
My ganger (charge hand) – Mac Davies. Showed me every short cut going and to work at speed but still produce quality. He also showed me how to earn money slinging (hanging) contract vinyl.
What brand paint were you predominantly using on woodwork when you started out?
Contract – Manders. Quality – Permoglaze
And now, what would you use as your best shot on a front door?
Sikkens – if you can get it to dry!!!
What was the most unpleasant decorating job you ever did? (Don’t name names!)
Too many to mention. Two Jays Ltd had many strings to their bow so would move you to different gangs.
One week you could be slinging wallpaper on a hotel, next week you would be hanging 60ft up on a factory roof on a staging with nothing to stop you falling to the ground, except your nerve.
Mellor Seal damp proofer in pub cellars and chlorinated rubber paint in swimming baths were probably the worst paints.
Tell us briefly about a job that you think encapsulates your craft skills?
All day every day. It doesn’t matter if your toshing out an outside bog, or gilding a theatre ceiling (and I’ve done both), you are there to do your best.
Name one aspect of the decorating trade today that makes you cringe?
People who think they are some sort of skilled jedi and master craftsman. It’s just decorating at the end of the day.
Name one aspect of decorating that is infinitely better than when you first started out.
Not being beaten up in the back of the van and having your private parts painted in black gloss. Oh, and packing up smoking.
If a young person said they wanted to be a painter, what would your advice be?
Learn to be a decorator and never accept anyone calling you a painter
What decorating trend do you hope never makes a comeback?
Bark artex on walls.
Based on your experience, is there a “most popular colour” for hand-painted kitchen cabinets?
Any shade of pale creams or off-whites
Is your own home decorated to the nth degree, or is it a case of cobbler’s shoes?
A plumber always has a leaking tap.
Outside of work, what are you working on at the moment?
Practicing the oboe.
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