Spider Webb's Pushing Ink: The Fine Art of Tattooing


By Spider Webb and Marco Vassi.

Photographs by Charles Gatewood and Spider Webb.

“Gone are the days of ‘Mary’, ‘Mom’ and ships’ anchors.”

American tattoo master Spider Webb gained both notoriety and respect in the 1970s as his SoHo gallery shows promoted tattooing as a fine art and made the practice widely accessible at a time when it was banned across the city. Meteorite remnants, shark skin and exotic feathers are but a few of the unusual materials employed by Webb in building his custom tattoo machines - the tools that have enabled his persistent pursuit of “Warm Art”.

Pushing Ink is not simply a catalogue of the artist’s best work - although intricately inked nipples, shoulders, biceps and feet do abound - but also a visually-rich polemic against the stigmatisation of the tattooed and tattooist. Webb is here to provide inspiration and invaluable advice, as well as to normalise the oft-maligned beauty of his life’s work. After all, as he happily reminds us, King Edward VII, Janis Joplin and Senator Barry Goldwater were all inked up and proud.

Publication Date: 1979
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Details: Softcover. First edition. 190 pp.

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