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‘Imitation is not flattering’: Illustrator calls out copy-cat account for stealing her artwork

'It seems you can’t create a single original design.'


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Aug 22, 2023   Updated on Aug 24, 2023, 1:27 pm CDT

A digital illustrator says another artist is “ripping off” her art and artistic style.

The illustrator posted a TikTok on Saturday exposing another online creator for copying her art and artistic style. The creator says this has been going on for two years.

In the video, Eva Malley (@evamalleyart) says that Oana Popescu has “ripped off” her brand and made her uncomfortable for two years—“and nothing has changed.”

Malley wrote in the overlay text of her video that she has reached out to Popescu directly, but as an “absolute last resort,” she posted a video showing the similarities between her art and the images that Popescu has posted.

“I really did not want to do this because I want absolutely no interaction with her,” Malley says of Popescu in her TikTok. “She’s made me feel very unsafe and uncomfortable to be online and I’ve seen lies that she’s sent people about me.”

Malley then shows 19 images and concepts that she says Popescu has stolen from her. The similarities between Malley and Popescu’s art are striking.

Other screenshots show that Malley and Popescu’s Instagram and TikTok bios are nearly identical, save for personal information.

She also shows that Popescu has tried to connect with her on social media, and says Popescu has “stalked [her] life online.”

On Tuesday, Malley’s video had almost 30,000 views.

@evamalleyart please leave me alone @Oana Popescu ♬ original sound – evamalleyart

While the extent of Malley’s troubles is unique, having one’s art allegedly stolen is all too familiar for independent artists online.

Many independent artists the Daily Dot spoke with in 2022 also said that getting a lawyer to handle the issue is out of their price range. Malley commented on her video saying she’s not in the financial position to get representation, either.

Many commenters expressed support for Malley in her video.

“Imitation is not flattering especially at this level!!” one user wrote.

Some even commented on Popescu’s video referencing the allegations of art theft.

“These might be cool if they were actually your ideas,” @brattyroses commented on one of Popescu’s videos. “But it seems you can’t create a single original design for yourself.”

Update 1:26pm CT, Aug. 24: In a statement to the Daily Dot, Oana Popescu denies that she “traced or reproduced” Malley’s artwork and style.

She did say, however, that she’s been “transparent with the fact that [her] art style is highly inspired by other artists and aesthetics since day one.”

“It’s damaging when a big artist throws a huge community against a smaller one,” Popescu told the Daily Dot. “Even if there are a lot of concepts posted by me first, people tend to believe the bigger creator.”

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*First Published: Aug 22, 2023, 10:53 pm CDT