Scroll to top

John “Spider” Martin

Before working on this mural, Edreys had created the headline banner for the Pappy Martin Legacy – Masten Jazz Festival, an annual music festival in Buffalo. While Edreys was pondering the subject for his mural, his friend DJ Cutler called him up to congratulate him on his work for the Festival. Cutler then asked what Edreys was working on nex, and he shared that he was working on deciding a subject for his Niagara Falls Mural. DJ Cutler is married to Pappy Martin’s great-niece, so he told Edreys that he should look up John “Spider” Martin — Pappy’s brother and a prodigal musician of the 1980s. Edreys began to do research on John, whose entire family is from Niagara Falls, and was able to speak to Kenny Martin, the last living brother of the Martin family. Kenny informed him that John used to play at the club that was right around the corner from where Edreys was placing his mural. All of the points began to connect, and Edreys felt that he had to depict John “Spider” Martin. 


Once Edeys had John’s likeness done, he had one piece left to do on the left side of the wall. Kenny told Edreys that he knew that he painted music and that “Sweet Jenny Lou” was John’s favorite song. Edreys studied the music and decided to create an abstraction of it in lines and text and motion to fill the blank spot.


You’ll notice there’s a spider on the bottom right corner of the mural. That’s not just because of John’s nickname. On the night when Edreys was beginning to project his mural onto the wall and start work, he saw a large wolf spider toward the bottom of the wall — it seemed like a sign from John “Spider” Martin himself. And Edreys decided that he had to memorialize that magical moment. 


Edreys wants this mural to remind people of the importance of recognizing their own — of honoring the giants among us, whether living or otherwise. John “Spider” Martin toured with the likes of Miles Davis and other famous musicians of his day, but is still relatively unknown in his own hometown. Edreys is honored that the Martin family is pleased with the outcome of the mural and that their brother is now properly honored in the community.

  • Artist

    Edreys Wajed

  • Tags

    African-American History, Black Musicians, Jazz Era, Jazz Music, Niagara Falls History

About the Artist

Edreys Wajed

Edreys Wajed‘s mother and father are both artists — in fact, they met at the art department of Buffalo State when they were in college. So, naturally, art has always been a big part of Edreys’s life. It’s how he expressed himself growing up, as he painted on hats, jean jackets, canvas, and more throughout high school and college. As an adult, Edeys’s focus was on graphic design, as well as black and white and portraiture. He eventually evolved into working with acrylic paints on canvas, and most recently has been exploring music through abstraction onto canvas. He’ll take a song and deconstruct it instrument by instrument, articulating that instrument onto the canvas through movement, line, and color. His first mural was when he was working as a substitute teacher at School #74 and created a mural on one of the school’s hallway walls. More recently, in 2017, he worked on the Freedom Wall with Albright-Knox. His mural with Niagara Falls murals was his largest up to that point.

Edreys’s Definition of Freedom

“Freedom means to me, that all people are justly granted without obstruction, the right to pursue and obtain peace of mind, food, clothing and shelter and be afforded the opportunity to contribute to the community and world with whatever gifts, talents and knowledge they posses. Freedom is a balanced scale that should always seek to right itself even and straight.”

Follow Edreys

We use cookies to give you the best experience.