Tattoos and Body Art

What does a spiderweb tattoo on the elbow symbolize?

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2018-02-28 23:08:23

The tattoo of a spiderweb on an elbow or a neck most usually

indicates that a person has done time in jail/prison. The spiderweb

as a symbol of "doing time" comes from the notion that a spider web

catches and imprisons. Therefore translating to doing time. All

ethnic races; especially gang members may "ink up" with a

spiderweb. Most likely places to find the spiderweb tattoo are:

neck, elbows and knees. However, one may find them almost anyplace

on the body. The location of the tattoo means nothing.

Comments that a spider web tattoo means that a person is a gang

member, an NLR member, Aryan member, etc.; or that the wearer has

killed someone are really myths and are without any supportive

evidence. These days, many pseudo "tough guys" will wear this tat

to "look the part."

Tattoos done "in the joint" are usually done in blue or black

ink and made from tattoo "rigs" constructed of tape recorder

motors, a pen barrel and guitar string; and ink made from stolen

ink pens and mixed with Aqua Velva aftershave; or ink made from

carbon residue made from burning plastic and mixing the residue

with an Aqua Velva solution. Color tattoos in the joint are rare

because of a problem securing colored ink.

"Dr. Ron" most "jailbirds" get them to represent how many years

they were in prison or how many people they killed Symbolism of a

Spider Web on the Elbow Tattoo Here are opinions and answers from


The spiderweb on the elbow started out around the 40s as a aryan

gang symbol meaning that you killed a minority. usually each ring

meant how many years they were locked up. obviously in 70 years,

things change. im Aztec and Native American and i have a spiderweb

on my elbow with a clock in the middle. these days the meaning is

pretty simple. it is a symbol of struggle. some struggle with

drugs, some struggle with the system, and some just struggle with

everything in life. Sometimes the harder you try to fight it, the

more you get tangled in life's web. whoever wrote below "it means

what you want it to mean" is obviously the only genius in here,

because its no longer a symbol that belongs to any group or

lifestyle. especially since you've got idiotic Nazi Lowriders that

recruit Latinos. "We're gonna hate everything that's not white, but

we'll make an exception cuz we gotta get drugs from somewhere" How

bout just try to be an American and a normal member of society. i

say send them all to Iraq and let them feel what is is to be hated

for being an American and having nothing to do with race. sure

would make me and my boys feel better.

Bikers and others have the tattoo done to signify how sometimes

in life we caught in the web of fate. In other words you get caught

in situations you can not control.

  • Depending on where you look, it's either a prison tattoo

    showing that you've served time or it's a white supremacy thing.

    Mostly, I've met people who used it simply to show that they've

    served time.

  • On the elbows itis sometimes a skinhead tattoo not just racist

    skinheads but anti racist, gay, and political skinheads use it


  • I was just discussing this tonight and apparently it's a tat,

    generally done in PRISON, which means you're in for murder.

  • It's traditionally a prison tattoo. Lifers and those with long

    sentences would get it to signify that they were locked up for so

    long, they had cobwebs, get it?

It has been known as a racist thing or each line of the web

stands for how many years you did in prison.

  • You've killed, hate or hit a visible minority.

  • Drug or substance abuse addiction.

  • it means uve bashed a rival gang member to near death each ring

    means how many they have bashed (jail/street gang tat)

  • Jail Time (prison tat)

  • It means what you want it to mean.

  • It means that you are trapped somewhere.

  • It means you have a tattoo of a spider web on your elbow.

  • Usually, the old-fashion spider web tattoo is placed on the

    elbows. It's an old school prison tattoo, meaning you did time or

    that you killed someone in prison. It can be a hate-symbol worn by

    racists, who are proud to have killed someone from a different

    race. Another meaning is 'you're dealing with a dangerous person

    with a gun'. Nowadays, it's used in the punk scene for example, it

    means 'Caught in the system'. Also used in new school and old

    school-style tattoos just because it looks really nice.

  • Among gang members, this tattoo was a code, readable by other

    gangsters in prison and on the outside, showing that the bearer had

    served serious time in the penitentiary. In some parts of the

    country the same tattoo meant that the wearer had killed a member

    of a minority group. In fact, James Burmeister was convicted in

    1995 of killing a black couple, an act he committed solely because

    he wanted to wear the spider web tattoo that was popular among

    members of the Aryan Brotherhood. But while this tattoo holds

    powerful and specific significance for gang members, to the middle

    class that has co-opted the symbol it has no meaning beyond the

    idea that it is simply "cool." Thus Robert Van Winkle (formerly

    famous as the rapper Vanilla Ice) and Lars Frederiksen of the band

    Rancid both sport spider web tattoos. In a 1996 episode of Melrose

    Place, one of the characters gets drunk before going to tattoo

    parlor and wakes up the next day with a huge spider web tattooed on

    his elbow. The spider web may be the most common prison tattoo to

    be assimilated by the middle class, but it is not the only one.

    People who have no affiliations to or interest in gangs have had

    themselves tattooed with Old English script on their chests, backs

    and arms, a style that used to be exclusive to gang members. These

    non-gang-member tattoo wearers believe they can imbibe the

    "gangsta" aura without having to lead a gangster life. Thus Dody

    Lira, a highly tattooed but law-abiding 25-year-old from Dallas,

    Texas, is proud to have several tattoos that are in the same style

    as gang tattoos, including a large tattoo of his own last name on

    the outside of his left calf in Old English lettering. "They have

    influenced me, by planting a symbolic badge that can be worn for

    everyone to see, for the rest of my life," he explained. "It all

    ties in with symbolism-they all stand for something; it's

    universally known." But he acknowledges that there are some gang

    tattoos he would not adopt, saying, "You see a dude with 187 on his

    forearm, he's probably a killer." Still, he sees no conflict

    between staying within the bounds of polite society while sporting

    gang-style tattoos. "Yuppies also drive Harleys," he explains.

    "That doesn't mean that they are beer drinking, wife smacking


it is said that it originated from a tribe in Malaysia.

It is also known to be an old Navy tattoo. Sailors would

use it to symbolize them leaning on the side of a ship waiting to

return home for so long that cobwebs had showed up.

The spider web is most officially representative of five years

in prison per elbow. According to the Colorado Penitentiary inmates

general understanding and as I have come to understand during my

five year stint in prison. For the record when cops fail to report

other cops of crimes they commit on duty they are just as guilty as

the cop that committed the crime.

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