On a recent afternoon, I found myself out on the lawn by the M. D. Anderson Library on the University of Houston campus (you know, Beyoncé's hangout). It was hot and crowded as a throng of students watched a portrait quickly take form in wide brush strokes on a blank, black canvas.
The demonstration was part of a project for UH professor Carlos Ortega's Introduction to Entrepreneurship class, where students were assigned a relevant but difficult topic: Organize a successful flash mob, or record a video that will go viral.
One team, made up of Brenda Melgar, Celine Boulenger, Bianca Geyen and Alicia Bernon, decided to make a YouTube video.
"We wanted to do something that people could relate to right now, so we decided on a tribute to Steve Jobs," Boulenger said.
They didn't quite know how to make a typical tribute video go viral until Monday evening, when Melgar told her teammates that she was an experienced speed-painter. That is when the team's project came together.
Melgar promised to paint a portrait of Jobs in 20 minutes or less. As she applied paint to the canvas, often with brushes in both hands, eyes, glasses, and nostrils emerged. Her teammates passed out candy to onlookers and recorded statements from entrepreneurs in the audience. Most professed not to be fans of Jobs' Apple products, but couldn't deny his importance in the world of business.
Halfway through the demonstration, Dr. Latha Ramchand, dean of C. T. Bauer College of Business, showed up to watch. The dean claimed to love Melgar's tribute, and the two joked about exchanging art for forgiveness from parking tickets.
Time ran out, but Melgar continued to put final touches on the portrait, trying to figure out how to fix it. "Does it look like him? Don't lie to me!"
The likeness of the end result isn't perfect, but it's a thoughtful tribute to a man who was an inspiration to many.