Hitchin artist Lauren Asad, 16, paints for all-time hero Fabian Perez

PUBLISHED: 11:54 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:08 23 November 2017

Hitchin artist Lauren Asad, 16, with her idol Fabian Perez. Picture: Jacqui Asad

Hitchin artist Lauren Asad, 16, with her idol Fabian Perez. Picture: Jacqui Asad

Archant

A teenage artist who is on the autistic spectrum has completed a painting commissioned by her idol Fabian Perez, and presented it to him for exhibition.

Hitchin artist Lauren Asad, 16, with her idol Fabian Perez. Picture: Jacqui AsadHitchin artist Lauren Asad, 16, with her idol Fabian Perez. Picture: Jacqui Asad

Lauren Asad, 16, who lives with auditory and information processing disorder, language delays. social anxiety, sensory processing and phobic disorders, has found great strength in art.

She had two pieces exhibited last month at the Royal College of Art – selling both – and she told the Comet that painting for Fabian was a dream come true.

She said: “I look anxious because I was anxious – painting for my idol! Wouldn’t you be too?

“When you dream one day you’ll see your work up on the wall of a prestigious art gallery next to to your all-time international hero, or that you’d be asked to paint a commission by the world’s most-collected living artist, and both come true in one – here’s no words to describe what’s going through my head right now. Here’s my painting, up next to Fabian’s.”

She added: “If you have a dream, never give up.”

Lauren’s health took a turn for the worse earlier this year, and her anxiety spiralled. She was declared too ill to continue her GCSEs after she collapsed during an exam – but achieved A* grades in both subjects she did finish.

She told how on her way to meet Fabian at the Whitewall Gallery in Weybridge, she had panic attacks and did breathing exercises on a train full of people.

Lauren, who was recognised in this year’s Comet Community Awards, was shaking so much she was unable to speak when she came face to face with Fabian.

“Fabian is the artist I hope one day to be, and to paint for him is the biggest honour of all,” she said. “Especially this year, as life hasn’t gone how I’d hoped. When it was hard to keep finding the strength to carry on, this painting reminded me why I’m picking myself up and not giving up.

“As I watched the painting develop, I began to slowly recover. Together we got through bad times and survived. Now I’ve already achieved some of my life-time ambitions and made memories I’ll never forget, and I haven’t even started my journey as a full-time artist yet.

“Now I’m studying A-level art at a sixth form I love, with teachers who are amazing. I literally can’t wait to arrive every day.”

Lauren continues to exhibit with the Hitchin Art Hub.

Lauren’s mum Jacqui said: “Painting for Fabian Perez is a huge achievement for Lauren.

“Although they are worlds apart with his life and studio in Hollywood, between them their paintbrushes have brought them close together.

“We are learning to re-invent success and how it’s achieved. Lauren is now getting the specialist support she needs, and is about to discover a new self she probably didn’t know existed.”

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