How did Spider Webb Die? What happened to Spider Webb? | ICIN

78-year-old tattoo artist Spider Webb, who was known for his defiant streak, has died.

Spider Webb, a renowned tattoo artist noted for his intricate designs and efforts to repeal the rule that rendered tattooing illegal in New York City for decades, passed away on July 2 in Asheville, North Carolina. He was 78.

In addition to Spider Webb:

Sharon O’Sullivan, his wife, stated that chronic obstructive lung disease was the cause. Spider — whose real name was Joseph O’Sullivan (and “never Mr. Webb,” as The New York Times noted in 1974) — was a member of a generation that brought serious art credentials to tattooing and helped it shed the disrepute it had in the middle of the 20th century, making it acceptable and even fashionable. Spider promoted tattooing as a medium of artistic expression with greater audacity than anybody else.

In 1961, New York City outlawed tattooing, ostensibly out of worry that it could transmit hepatitis, though others, including Spider, had alternative motives.

Joseph O’Sullivan’s transformation into Spider Webb:

Joseph Patrick O’Sullivan was born in the Bronx to David and Tecla (Baranowicz) O’Sullivan on March 3, 1944. At the age of 14, he found his calling in the Coney Island tattoo business. In 2003, he told The News-Times of Danbury, Connecticut, “I thought that was cool.” “The man creates a drawing, hangs it on the wall, and then applies it to individuals. I believed this was my destiny.” After serving in the Navy from 1962 to 1966, he furthered his knowledge of the vessel by enrolling in a rigorous art programme: In 1970, he received his bachelor’s degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York and his master’s from the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He picked the name Spider Webb from a character in the old film serial “Tim Tyler’s Luck” that he admired. In 1973, he told The Daily News of New York, “Tim was the decent man.” “Spider was the antagonist. I believed it to be a real gas, so I adopted the name.” This report stated, “He will tattoo anything, from a small insect for $10 to a full torso for $5,000.”

The spider was riding a wave. In 1974, he informed The New York Times that tattooing had seen a revival over the previous six years. “It’s part of being an individual to dress as you choose and wear earrings. The entire thing.” He stated that half of his clients were female. He was perpetually inventive. The Daily News described a new addition to his repertoire as “the greatest invention in skin painting since Samuel O’Reilly pioneered the electric tattoo needle in 1890” in a 1984 article. The tattoo was three-dimensional. When viewed with the iconic 1950s 3-D spectacles, the image would truly pop.

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