Socialite’s portrait rejected because it ‘makes her old’
An emerging artist as been left "heartbroken" after Sydney socialite Pip Edwards didn't support the portrait she painted of her.
Lauren Ferrier asked the founder of activewear label P.E Nation, who's dating former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, to sit for the portrait she planned to enter in the prestigious Archibald Prize, only to be eventually told she'd made the 40-year-old look "older beyond her years".
The Melbourne artist, 25, had already shared a photo of the portrait sitting session and stories to her Instagram page, to which Ms Edwards responded or shared in her own stories.
However, when it came time to enter the competition, Ferrier hit a snag.
She had forgotten to get the popular fitness influencer's signature when she met her, which the competition needed as proof the pair had met.
When Ferrier chased up Ms Edwards and her global PR manager Louise Gaffikin, she was shocked at the response she received.
"Pip just needs visibility on the image first," Ms Gaffikin had told her, copying Ms Edwards into the email.
Ferrier then clarified the signature was not for approval of the painting but after she sent it on anyway, she said she was met with another "disappointing" response.
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Ms Gaffikin told her they would not be able to sign the consent form because Ms Edwards would not "align with the imagery".
"I have to be honest and say she looks much older beyond her years in this photo," she wrote.
"I don't think she could resonate with this painting and having it being put out to the public."
Ms Gaffikin claimed Ms Edwards hadn't seen the image because she had her laptop, and asked Ferrier for a solution that would give her a "more youthful feel" before she showed her boss.
She also asked that Ferrier remove the image from her Instagram.
Ferrier replied to Ms Gaffikin that she had put her life and soul into the painting for 10 months.
"It has also been seen by a few prominent Melbourne art figures who have complimented the likeness," she wrote. "I'm sure Pip wouldn't want to be seen as a woman who would stop a young artist from pursuing her dreams."
She implored them to sign the form.
While the form was signed and Ferrier was able to submit her painting for the competition, she told news.com.au it was unlikely the piece ever would have been displayed.
"2000 people enter, it was very unlikely it would get in, I just wanted to give it go," she said.
"Pip never actually said anything but while the painting was being produced I shared a few stories and she was excited and replied.
"I honestly don't care if she doesn't like it, she doesn't have to like it, and she's entitled to her opinion.
"But (the response) was really heartbreaking. I wanted to paint her because she's an incredible woman, she's always talking about uplifting women. It was shocking."
Ferrier said she was so proud of the painting and no longer viewed Ms Edwards in the same light.
She had previously told The Herald Sun, "I always thought she's at the top of her game in terms of fashion, being a single mum and a girl boss."
'THOUGHT THEY COULD BULLY ME'
But in a further shocking turn of events, Ferrier hit another snag when she tried to sell the painting.
She was contacted by a woman on Instagram who said she was a fan of Ms Edwards' and arranged to have the painting sent to her and receive the $400 afterwards.
Ferrier then got a message explaining how the woman had showed it to her roommate, who had sent it to Ms Gaffikin in excitement, and was met with a phone call from PE Nation saying it was illegal for her to buy it and the company was getting their legal team involved.
Once they realised Ferrier did in fact have authority to sell the painting, the buyer went ahead with the purchase and told her that Ms Edwards was "comforted that the painting has been sold to someone loyal and who genuinely loves the brand".
Ferrier said she believed something more was at play because Ms Gaffikin had followed her on Instagram after she posted the painting.
"I think they just thought they could bully me, I'd delete it, not sell it or enter the competition because they're sort of scary," she said.
"That's what's most embarrassing for them, it was such a big deal they made but nothing was ever going to happen to it."
Ms Gaffikin told news.com.au that Ms Edwards did not prevent the painting from being shown at the Archibald.
"The understanding was the painting was submitted however not chosen for final selection," she wrote. "Pip is a creative individual. She has a wealth of ideas, thoughts and openness.
"There is always room for wide interpretation and personal subjectiveness when it comes to artistic expression and it is often subjective. She appreciates the artist's take on her, hence why the portrait was submitted for consideration.
"The sale of the portrait was questioned, not its entrance into the Archibald. The artist advised she had full legal ownership rights and the painting was sold."
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Originally published as Socialite's portrait rejected: 'Makes her old'