Xed Le Head, The Dotfather
Mandalas, Yantras, the interlocking swastikas of the Sayagata--they are some of the most referenced imagery found in dotwork tattooing. And the prevalence of their use and influence on so many tattooists worldwide can be traced to one man: Xed LeHead.
These artists, from the 90s Dunstable generation to today's Instagram #sacredgeometrytattoo stars, reverently refer to Xed as "The Dotfather," for the 3-needle dot configurations tattooed in richly textured patterns across massive swaths of skin. From the age of 13, Xed was handpoking friends, ten years before he chose to pursue tattooing around 1990. And from those very first tattoos, dots always dominated.
You'll be finding The Dotfather banner (above) popping up on social media feeds, in honor of all Xed's artistic contributions to tattooing, and the lives he has changed with his work. However, these tributes stem from very difficult circumstances and the desire to support a beloved friend, mentor, and inspirational figure in tattooing.
Recently, Xed suffered a severe medical condition, leaving him unable to use his arms and legs and forcing him to retire from tattooing. Xed faces a long road of rehabilitation and the need for specialist medical equipment and services that exceed both Xed and the UK's National Health Service budgets. To support Xed and give back all he has given to our community, a trust fund has been set up, spearheaded by tattooers Goldilox and Delphine Noiztoy, that will go directly to these medical costs.
** To be a part of this support, please donate to the Official Xed Le Head fund page. You can learn more about the fundraising efforts, share your Xed stories, and find out about his care on the Xed Le Head Facebook fundraising page. **
Also check @Xedleheadlove on Instagram and share the love with these hashtags #xedleheadlove #xedlehead #themaster.
There are additional individual fundraisers planned: There will be an exhibition of Xed's work at the Norwich Tattoo Convention August 15-16th, and for the first time his prints will be for sale. FK Irons is auctioning off three dedicated Xed tattoo machines, and there are many more auctions of artists work planned.
I'll be setting up an auction for the original Black Tattoo Art, the cover of which is graced by Xed's work and has pages of his tattoos inside as does Black Tattoo Art II). More on that to come.
While there are have been a number of fundraisers for tattooers' medical expenses, this one is different for me. Not only does compassion move me to help someone who is forced to stop making a living and doing what he loves, I think it is also time to reciprocate Xed's gifts of an expanded tattoo vocabulary and spiritual approach to the art. And for anyone who has ever banked on the Master Pattern and his other designs, it seems to me like a debt owed (although, he probably would not approve of me saying so).
Xed is also known for his generosity of spirit, dedication to his clients, and passion for tattoos. In my last interview with him, he said some beautiful things, a part of which I want to share with you:
[T]he days in the studio, the time spent devoted to another human, not sexual and with or without payment being of no consequence, but for the betterment of them, for improving their journey through life, knowing and believing fully that what I attempt to do with them, for them, is to rewire their Planet Freakout Playsuit a little, to improve their vibration rate and deepen their connection with their selves.There is also the want to get into their heads, to know them, to watch their growth, to get involved with really complex pieces that take at least forever to complete, often much longer.
Xed rose up through the famed Into You Tattoo, the London studio of his mentor Alex Binnie, and then created his own space in North London, Divine Canvas, the premier studio for blackwork.
You can find more of Xed's work on the Divine Canvas site and his personal site - which has a great interview section.
I also recommend you watching this Youtube video, in which he talks about his most renowned work on Lucky Diamond Rich, Guinness World Records Most Tattooed Man.
Once inspired, please go to Official Xed Le Head fund page and be a part of supporting a tattoo icon.