Fact Check

Yes, a Video Accurately Depicts 'Embroidery Tattoos'

Capture the right amount of light and shadows and 2-dimensional images can look quite textured.

Published Jul 19, 2021

Image Via @dudalozanotattoo
A viral video authentically depicts "embroidery tattoos" — permanent body modifications that look like stitched patches but are actually 2-dimensional.

On July 16, 2021, a roughly 60-second video was posted on social media featuring a São Paulo-based tattoo artist who said people often believed his ability to replicate shadow and light in 2-dimensional tattoos, making them appear 3-dimensional, was inauthentic. The video, which was produced by 60 Second Docs and translated from Portuguese to English via subtitles, included this narration by the artist, Duda Lozano: 

A lot of people think it's fake or it is manipulated somehow. That's gratifying because it means you're on the right path. [...] I do embroidery tattoos. For a long time, I've been looking for a style to differentiate myself from other tattoo artists. And three years ago, I had the idea of doing the patch tattoo style. You have to master shadow and light.

As you can see, the video included multiple instances in which hands rubbed or touched the tattoos to seemingly prove that they were flat on someone's skin instead of textured like actual embroidered patches.

To investigate further, we studied the artist's Instagram and Facebook pages, where he posted numerous images and videos of the "embroidery tattoos" over the course of months.

One video in which he was tagged presumably showed his work being stretched out across someone's skin as it was rubbed, proving the tattoos lacked depth that would make them 3-dimensional. Another clip apparently showed him in the process of giving an "embroidery tattoo" using a standard tattoo machine and other tools to make the permanent body modification.

Snopes also found profiles by INKED, a magazine that highlights trends in the industry, and My Modern Met that highlighted Lozano's pieces — evidence that, again, confirmed the realness and credibility of his art. The latter publication — which aims to promote "visually stunning images" across a variety of platforms, such as photography and science, according to its bio — stated:

Just like a real embroidered patch, Lozano’s pop culture-inspired work has thread lines that mimic the satin stitch as well as the binding that keeps the edges from fraying. [...]

Before he began his tattoo career, he worked with logos and embroidered shirts. Lozano thought that this could intersect with tattooing, so he inked a Garfield patch design as an experiment. “The same day I improved the technique by making the Courage the Cowardly Dog [tattoo].” He hasn't stopped since.

We reached out to Lozano to learn more about how he created the optical illusions. We will update this page if we hear back.

Nonetheless, we found no evidence of any digital manipulation or Lozano using practices that would not apply to other types of tattooing, such as neo-realism or traditional line work. (In fact, based on his social media pages, he was also capable of those styles.)

For those reasons, and considering the evidence outlined above, it is "True" that the so-called "embroidery tattoos" are authentic body modifications that look like 3-dimensional stitched patches but are actually flat on people's skin, like all other tattoos.

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Jessica Lee is Snopes' Senior Assignments Editor with expertise in investigative storytelling, media literacy advocacy and digital audience engagement.

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