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.