Gordon Critchlow: sign painter

Critchlow’s work which adorns the Beepats building on Regent Street

Mid-morning Gordon Critchlow sits in a little room surrounded by paint tins; his only source of light is the open door.  Despite the heat of the space he occupies, he continues painting the letters on the banner in front of him because his family needs the money he will make from this job.
Seventy-year-old Critchlow is a sign painter. This has been his occupation and passion for the last forty years. However, for the past eighteen years, he has occupied a small room adjoining the Rayon House of Fashion on Robb Street.

Gordon Critchlow

“I am well known for my work,” he said, “I like doing this.” He recalled that as a youth he watched a man named ‘Fenty’ prepare banners, and was full of admiration for his work. However, he believed that he could do better. Years later, his work has been featured on various buildings, the seawall and any number of banners.

Those were the good days.  Now his way of life is being threatened by technology and as a consequence, life has become difficult for him. Though struggling to get well-paying jobs, he is determined to persevere because this is all he knows how to do.

Critchlow’s work which adorns the Beepats building on Regent Street

“Things are different, nobody looks at us now,” he said sadly of his line of work. He added that nowadays customers prefer to have their work done on the computer rather than by hand.  “Even the young people are not interested in learning about this work since it is too slow for them.”

“I’m a pensioner and it’s tight living for me,” he observed; “My life is more than tough.” He explained that he does not make much from his work and is struggling to make ends meet. Despite this, he is determined to make an “honest living.”

He said that his wife is the backbone of their family and he just does what he can to help out. When he is paid, it is such a headache to spend the money, he said, because the cost of living is so high. “Imagine $240 per day for pensioners, when a loaf of bread costs $260.” He believes that the government has to pay greater attention to the plight of the country’s senior citizens to ensure that they have a comfortable living.

Regardless of his situation, Critchlow is optimistic that he can make it by staying strong.  He declared, “I will get through this with flying colours.”

Comments  

Merlene Ellis – artist

Merlene Ellis has lived art all her life and while this is not an easy profession to follow in Guyana she would tell you that for over 12 years it has been her only means of income.

By ,

Chetwin Moriah: Antenna-maker

Thirty-eight year old antenna maker Chetwin Moriah has been making antennas for the past 20 years.

Newspaper vendor Jennifer Gulliver

For the last 15 years Christmas Day has found 49-year-old Jennifer Gulliver pounding the streets of Georgetown selling newspapers.

By ,

Upholsterer: Winifred Watson

Upholstery is traditionally seen as a man’s work, but single mother of five Winifred Watson who lives in Stanley-town, West Bank Demerara, does it along with some amount of joinery to provide for her family.

By ,

Puri man

From as early as 4 am, 56-year-old dhal puri maker Tony Favourite is at work at his 4585 Roxanne Burnham Gardens home, kneading an estimated 50 pounds of flour, which will give him 400 dhal puris.

By ,

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×