Indian Larry: The Big Chief Of Tattooed Bikers

sarah_calavera in Stories

Indian Larry is a motorcycle hand-craftsman from NY, who has inspired artists with his "Question Everything" philosophy.

Born with the name Lawrence DeSmedt in 1949 Indian Larry wasn't really an Indian at all. He got the nickname in the 80's from riding the streets of New York on a chopped Indian motorcycle. Indian Larry was a respected custom build motorcycle artist whose custom built choppers are works of art. In fact his whole body became a work of art with ink covering most of his torso.

Indian Larry.
Indian Larry.

Larry started getting tattoos later on in life he got his neck tattoo when he was in his mid 40s. The tattoo across the front of his throat read: IN GOD WE TRUST VENGEANCE IS MINE SAYETH THE LORD NO FEAR The lettering of the middle two lines was in reverse so that it could be read in the mirror.

"Larry lived his art. There’s no doubt about it. His life was his art" - Timothy White
"Larry lived his art. There’s no doubt about it. His life was his art" - Timothy White
Indian Larry.
Indian Larry.

"Spirituality is instinctive and I believe it's more of a Zen type of thing. You stay in the moment and you’ll get the right answers, the correct answers." - Indian Larry
Indian Larry was a deep thinker and faced many extreme tests yet he also enjoyed living in the moment and rolling with the punches. His philosophy in life was to "Question Everything" and so he used the symbol of a question mark as his trademark logo in his motorcycle design.

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A work of art Indian Larry's custom build choppers are gorgeously crafted.
A work of art Indian Larry's custom build choppers are gorgeously crafted.
The trademark "Question Everything" logo painted beautifully on the chopper's fuel tank.
The trademark "Question Everything" logo painted beautifully on the chopper's fuel tank.

His death in 2004 was a sad loss for the motorcycle community, but many bikers carry on his message through an interesting tattoo that was his signature, the question mark.

Norwegian bikers pay tribute to Indian Larry with their motorcycle club.
Norwegian bikers pay tribute to Indian Larry with their motorcycle club.
Classic Iron Cross tattoo seen on many bikers integrated with the Indian Larry Logo. Pic courtesy of indianlarry.com
Classic Iron Cross tattoo seen on many bikers integrated with the Indian Larry Logo. Pic courtesy of indianlarry.com
Birth and death date in memory of the legend himself.  Pic courtesy of indianlarry.com
Birth and death date in memory of the legend himself. Pic courtesy of indianlarry.com
Huge blackwork piece dedicated to the "chopper shaman".  Pic courtesy of indianlarry.com
Huge blackwork piece dedicated to the "chopper shaman". Pic courtesy of indianlarry.com
Colorful piece qith iron cross from unknown artist.
Colorful piece qith iron cross from unknown artist.
Inspirational Indian Larry quote tattoo.
Inspirational Indian Larry quote tattoo.
Great minimal color tribute to Indian Larry's memory from Tim Bobeck. Pic from tattooartists.org
Great minimal color tribute to Indian Larry's memory from Tim Bobeck. Pic from tattooartists.org
Great portrait piece from tattooist Andy Chambers. Pic courtesy of tattooartists.org
Great portrait piece from tattooist Andy Chambers. Pic courtesy of tattooartists.org

Indian Larry even inspires modern art. Check out the work shown in an exhibition from New York artist Chambliss Giobi.

Head of Indian Larry 1, 2006 Collage, Acrylic on Aluminum Panel, 60” x 60” Private Collection, Barcelona. Pic courtest of chamblissgiobi.com
Head of Indian Larry 1, 2006 Collage, Acrylic on Aluminum Panel, 60” x 60” Private Collection, Barcelona. Pic courtest of chamblissgiobi.com
Torso of Indian Larry,  2005 Collage, Acrylic on Aluminum Panel, 92” x 68”. Pic courtesy of chamblissgiobi.com
Torso of Indian Larry, 2005 Collage, Acrylic on Aluminum Panel, 92” x 68”. Pic courtesy of chamblissgiobi.com
Indian Larry.
Indian Larry.

"And if I'm called away and it's my turn to go, Should the blood run cold in my veins, just one favor I'll be asking you, Don't bury me here it's too cold, Take me back, Carry me back, Down to Gasoline Alley where I started from -Lyrics taken from Rod Stewart's song "Gasoline Alley" In memory of Indian Larry 1949 - 2004

sarah_calavera

@Sarah Calavera

Skull obsessed tattoo fanatic, writer for Tattoodo, voice actor and visual artist who loves metal and headbanging. Inspired by Neil Gaiman, Tool, horror & the macabre.

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