Elon Musk may not be capable of crediting an artist, but there was never any question that infamous picture of Nier: Automata’s 2B wasn’t his. Chinese consumer electronics giant Xiaomi, on the other hand, appears to have blatantly stolen and combined not one or two, but three pieces of art from the same 3D artist to help promote its devices in Spain.
What you see at the top of this post is the hero image from Xiaomi Spain’s website — the first thing you see when you land on Xiaomi’s homepage.
Now, take a look at this piece of art. Look familiar?
3D artist Peter Tarka tells The Verge that he created it in May 2018 as part of his Installations collection, as you can see here on his Behance portfolio. It looks like Xiaomi’s artists barely changed a thing — simply swapping out the ramps and balls for renders of the company’s products.
Oh, but it gets better. See that green chair on the left, and the hanging lamp on the right? They’re from two of Tarka’s other illustrations — ones he says were commissioned by Korean electronics giant LG, one of Xiaomi’s competitors. See below:
Image: Peter Tarka
Image: Peter Tarka
Here’s the LG-commissioned video that Tarka’s illustrations appeared in:
And here’s a GIF from Tarka itself to show how all the pieces fit together.
Tarka says that no one from Xiaomi ever reached out about licensing or commissioning his art. “I’m 100 percent sure they’ve used my pieces cause everything matches perfectly, they only changed the saturation and retouched [a] few elements to not make it so obvious,” he tells The Verge.
Xiaomi has played pretty fast and loose with intellectual property in the past, so it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to hear the company’s done it again — in fact, we’ve been surprised at least twice over the years when the company didn’t take an opportunity to copy. Here’s a recent example of the company’s Mi 9 ripping off Apple’s signature sand dunes from macOS Mojave.
We’ve reached out to Xiaomi for comment, and we’ll let you know what we hear.