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I was truly saddened to read about the death of Xed Le Head on Monday 16th October 2023.
Xed was a well known figure to anyone who was around the tattoo industry in the mid 90’s
I remember seeing him at a tattoo convention. An amazing character surrounded by vibrant artwork and prints.
Always full of creativity.
Xed pioneered the use of dot work, geometric shapes and hindu and religious symbolism such as mandalas in tattoos.
Its sad that many people get these tattoos today without ever knowing where they came from and who brought them into the modern tattoo art form.
His experimental and boundary breaking view of tattooing pushed the medium forward at a time when it was just emerging from the traditional era.
His work was ground breaking, inspirational and beautiful.
Xed & Tattoo Newcomers
Xed had a positive and welcoming view of people learning to tattoo. His attitude was “the more the merrier”
He is quoted saying in 2010 …
“I prefer to view tattooing as a folk art rather than an industry, and as such, I welcome all newcomers. The more the merrier. I want to see the whole world covered from head to foot and that isn’t going to happen unless a whole heap more people start doing it. We gotta’ long way to go…”BigTattooPlanet
His brilliant advice to new tattooists was…
“Make the art of tattooing your goal. Be the best you possibly can, forget about the money, make perfecting what you do your goal and the money you need to live on will come. The pursuit of excellence will bring greater happiness than cash. Try to produce things you have not seen before, bring something new to tattooing, search deep for your own expression and stick with it, it will take years to develop properly. Don’t do anything your heart is not into, there are so many tattoos out there that have no soul. Know that to get anywhere in anything, you will have to put in some serious hours – and continue to put them in.”BigTattooPlanet
Anyone looking to enter the tattoo industry really should research Xed and his work.
Knowing the history of tattooing enables you to stand on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before.
Xed’s Spinal Injury
Sadly in 2015 Xed suffered a devastating spinal injury which swiftly left him quadriplegic, paralysed and unable to move his hands.
This forced him to retire from tattooing.
The tattoo industry rallied around and set up fundraisers to adapt his house and car and help him with rehab.
His recovery was slow but he regained the use of his limbs.
Unable to tattoo he found a new love of painting beautiful and elaborate bright canvases with Sanskrit shapes, mantras and intricate patterns.
His creativity flowed into his new medium and he created some amazing work.
More recently he was diagnosed with myelopathy, a chronic and progressive degradation of the spinal chord due to his spinal injury which meant the risk of further paralysis.
He tried to work on as many paintings as he could before he lost more movement in his hands.
His latter paintings show a wonder vibrant force of life and are a tribute to a true tattooing pioneer who suffered great misfortune but still managed to create original art and beauty.
Xed passed away on Monday the 16th October at 5.23pm .
He leaves behind his partner Wiggy, little dog Penny Lionheart and a mourning Tattoo industry.
RIP Xed and thanks for the inspiration.
The information on the site is for entertainment only. Anything you do is at your own risk. Consult with your own Tattooist, Piercer or Doctor for advice.
- Xed Le Head Death Obituary – Dotwork Tattoo Pioneer - October 18, 2023
- How I Started Tattooing – - October 16, 2023
- Healed White Tattoos: How Long Do White Tattoos Last - September 8, 2023