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.
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!
What should a customer think about before getting a tattoo?
LM: Have an idea of what you want but leave it as an idea. Do not micromanage the process; let us be the artist and create.
What is the best way for a customer to come to a session?
LM: Get a good night’s sleep. Hydrate and eat something with a lot of fat, like a cheeseburger, or go to the waffle house. Get you blood sugar up.
Take a shower! I love my dogs, but I don’t need to smell your dogs.
What are the consequences of not being prepared?
LM: You run the risk of passing out and that makes the whole experience weird. I had a female client who passed out and fell forward. When she came to, she didn’t understand why she was being held. Your body is going thru shock on its own. If you don’t prepare, it won’t be a good experience.
What is the worst damage you have seen on tattoos?
LM: Damage caused by using Neosporin for aftercare. It is a triple-antibiotic that draws on out foreign objects from the skin. It will push out the ink.
Why is Ink Defense® different for you?
LM: It is dummy proof. Not greasy, doesn’t stick to your clothes or sheets. It does what is it supposed to do. After it absorbs, it doesn’t leave a huge residue that will suffocate your tattoo. I explain how it works. Tattooing has changed over the years and your aftercare should too.
Look at the difference in care of tattoos between cultures; Japanese style tattoos stay vibrant because people take the time to care for them by doing things like going to hot springs, moisturizing the art and keeping their tattoo in healthy state. Think of the original American Sailor tattoos where it was cool to get one, but you didn’t do anything to preserve the art. Then look at them after 20 years.
My grandfather was a pharmacist. Thanks to him, I learned early on what to stay away from and what works to keep the art in good shape.
Do you have any other pursuits?
LM: I am involved with Modern Day Pirates: it is an adventure group to get you out and doing things. The key principles are based on adventure, community, charity, mentorship, and self-improvement. I have been a hard core paintballer for over 26 years. I do paintball, even tournaments a lot. I am currently restoring a 1999 CraigCat; it should be in the water, soon. I also like to hunt and fish.
Larry McDaniel lives in the north eastern Georgia area where he owns Broken Arrow Tattoo Company in Dalton, Georgia.