Tattoo artist Larry Da Leopard has covered himself in more than 1,000 spots to become half man, half big cat.
The 40-year-old even prowls the streets wearing little more than a loincloth as part of his outrageous leopard look.
Born Lance Brieschke, Larry was disowned by his family for 10 years after making the radical decision to ink his body head to foot. The artist from Austin, Texas, even took the painful decision to tattoo his genitals.
And while some people love his distinctive alter ego, Larry has been barred from entering diners and even accused of being the devil. Yet Larry, who refers to himself as a ‘manimal’ – half man, half animal – says he has no regrets about his choice of design.
‘I’m proud of my tattoos – few people look like me,’ he says. ‘When I look in the mirror in the morning I like what I see.
‘I got tired of society’s expectations – I didn’t want to do what was expected of me so I started to become a manimal.
‘My leopard tattoos have given me special leopard powers like seeing in the dark, running really fast and hunting at night,’ claims Larry.
Larry, who runs Telepathic Tattoo, began getting leopard tattoos when he was 20 and five years later inked in his face with the distinctive spots.
‘My family has a military and Christian background so they didn’t take to my tattoos very well,’ admits Larry. ‘I was upset that they couldn’t relate to my self-expression. What I saw as art, they saw as desecrating my body.
‘It took them 10 years to come round but now we’ve got a better relationship. They can see I’m doing alright for myself.’
A few times a year Larry tops up his facial tattoos which can fade in the sun. And as a walking advert for his business he’s been inundated with requests to ink leopard spots on others.
‘When people need leopard spots they come to me,’ says Larry.
But despite the positive reactions from fans, closer to home Larry’s extreme personality causes tension with hairstylist partner Julia Ruth, 29.
Julia, who has been in a relationship with Larry for seven years on and off, says: ‘I get annoyed sometimes because he’s always so willing to react to people’s reactions. Sometimes I think he’s a little overly friendly and willing to just answer whatever questions.
‘If we’re on a date I want him to set some boundaries. But he’s a lovely guy and I’m never embarrassed to be seen with him. He’s more amusing than embarrassing.’
And even though he’s already a well-known character in Austin for his unique appearance, Larry still has more work to do.
‘I want to get my eyelids tattooed too,’ he explains, ‘but I don’t wanna do it myself. Kind of hard to tattoo your own eyelids.
‘Having your private parts tattooed really hurts, I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. But to me the art is worth the pain.
‘My tattoos will never be taken away from me. They could throw me in jail and take away my stuff, but I’ll always have this art on my body.’