BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A prolific local artist is transforming the side of the Kensington M&T Bank branch (3037 Bailey Ave.) with a colorful portrait of Buffalo-born jazz musician Grover Washington, Jr.
On Friday, Edreys Wajed was working on the piece, freehand spray painting colorful lines to represent the music coming from Washington’s saxophone.
Several times, cars driving by stopped to honk or shout words of support.
“The reaction has been amazing,” Wajed said. “I think that, being this wall was just kind of a blank wall prior to it being painted and primed, it gives it identity and space in the community.”
The mural shows Washington, famous for smooth jazz hits like “Mister Magic”, “Reed Seed” and “Black Frost”, playing his instrument.
Washington was born in Buffalo in 1943.
“He’s a world-renowned name in jazz, and he’s a Buffalo native,” Wajed said. “A lot of my work is inspired by music so I just felt like it was the right tribute- there’s no mural of him that I know of in town, so I felt it was most appropriate to give him the homage.”
“People are excited- it’s something new, something fresh,” M&T Bank branch manager Craig T. Pridgen said. “It’s fun to see the cars driving by and they kind of slow up to see what he’s doing.”
Wajed owns Eat Off Art, a multi-dimensional agency and platform with his wife Alexa.
He has worked on several murals across the Queen City, including the recently completed “Love Black” mural on Main Street.
Wajed collaborated on the mural, an Albright-Knox public art initiative, with James Moffitt.
“Not only is it graphically enticing, but the message is very powerful,” Wajed said. “There’s text in there for those that need to understand where our climate is today and how important it is for us to see one another and respect one another.”
Eat Off Art is also this month’s artist collaborating with Step Out Buffalo for a shirt design that will help benefit a local charity.
Wajed estimates that the mural at the Kensington branch will be completed by Monday.