Did Nissan (or their ad agency) rip off cut-paper-map artist and Etsy-er Karen O'Leary? (UPDATED)


I'm no lawyer, and I'm no detective, but there are some unmissable similarities between this ad campaign by Nissan and Lew'Lara/TBWA, Brazil (above) and the long-established body of work from artist Karen O'Leary (left).

O'Leary's Etsy site is here, more of her images here. We've featured her beautiful and unique cut paper city maps on Boing Boing a number of times, and they've been featured at lots of other design and art blogs around the web. She's been doing them since at least 2004, by my count, but her work really received a big popularity boost and sort of went viral in late 2009-early 2010. No, she's not the only artist in the world who uses cut paper as a medium, but give me a break.

Above, the Nissan campaign, detailed here at Ads of the World. Inset at left, one of Karen's most recent maps: Paris (there's even a Paris map in the Nissan campaign). Many details, down to the white paper, the way O'Leary frames each piece, the way she photographs her pieces by having someone hold them, are disappointingly similar. I reached out to Nissan and the ad agency in Brazil several times over the past week about the matter, and not one person has responded. Double-dog-lame, guys.

UPDATE, March 24: Lucila Pougy, a public relations spokesperson for Lew´Lara\TBWA in Brazil, emails Boing Boing: "We had no knowledge of Karen´s work or blog. It is impossible to know every work of every person on the internet. Upon learning about the coincidence, we immediately got in touch with her. Thank you."