Artist Spotlight - Larry McDaniel - Part 1

Ink Defense Proteam artist Larry McDaniel

Larry McDaniel contacted Ink Defense to learn more about our products. After using the products on himself and select clients, he was sold on Ink Defense.  His background and understanding of how our products help his clients is key to our relationship.  We are proud to have a dedicated and talented artist as part of the Ink Defense Pro-Team. 

Tell us about your career as a tattoo artist

LM: I have been tattooing almost 20 years.  I have owned shops in North Carolina, Louisiana, and now in Georgia.  My first shop was a make-it-or-break-it situation; I sold everything to do it.  I put my ideas into, and it has worked out great.  Sure, there were challenges but “if you don’t take risks, you don’t get any rewards”. One of my personal tattoos says it “Regret Nothing”.


What is your favorite style of tattooing?

LM: Realism, illustrative realism. Stuff that looks like what is supposed to look like. “An apple that looks like an apple”. 


What makes you different as an artist?

LM: My attention to detail and figuring out what the client really wants. I create designs for my clients. It seems this has been lost with the recent trends and social media impacting the industry; clients don’t realize they can have unique art. 


So, you have had some interesting experiences with clients.  Can you share some of those?

LM: Worst ever experience. A very petite woman wanted bows below her butt cheeks.  She bragged about getting a piece done by a famous artist that took over 6 hours.  As I was getting set up, her husband informs me that the reason the piece took 6 hours was because she did not sit still.  So, I get ready and start.  Well, I am not a small guy and between me and her husband both holding her down, I managed to get one bow done.  She wanted to stop and come back. I said no we are going to finish this, and we managed to, but it was like tattooing in the back of a pick-up truck.

Second worst experience. My mom.  Yes, my own mother. She only has the one tattoo.  She made me stop over 50 times and passed out twice. 

Best experience. Many people get tattoos for a reason and there is a story behind each piece. Recently I did a tattoo for a guy who lost his first grandchild. This will probably be his only tattoo. Anytime I can do something that has meaning for a person, a memorial, it means something to me as well. When you see tears well up in a person’s eye, you know it mean something special. 


Artists often use the guest spotting to expand their work.  Tell us about your experiences

LM: I have done guest spotting all over the country.  I worked in many shops and locations, tattooing in interesting places. I have even done rock stars in hotel rooms.  Guest spotting in other shops turned me on to cartridges and rotary and new ways to do things, to try.

I recently was invited to tattoo at the Iron Horse Saloon at Daytona Bike Week.  That was a week; with only 3 artists we were busy. I did over 70 pieces that week, mostly small, but some good pieces too. I am looking forward to going back this fall and tattooing in Sturgis next year. 

Ink Defense Proteam artist Larry McDaniel Daytona Bike week Iron Horse Saloon

Share with us your background and how you got into tattooing.

LM: I have a background in art and a degree in graphic design. I did some logo work in trade for tattoos.  I did a tattoo apprenticeship, but it was not a good experience.  The instructor was very critical and negative.  Said I would never be good enough to do tattooing.  Funny how things turn out but my first tattoo was a coverup of his work.  Karma!


Larry McDaniel lives in the north eastern Georgia area where he owns Broken Arrow Tattoo Company in Dalton, Georgia.  

 Check out Part 2 of Larry's interview