This is a story of TEDxJohannesburg in a painting. I had very high hopes for this event. It was the one nice thing that has happened to me in a very tough year… and it didn’t go quite according to plan. So instead of going out and drinking wine and having a good time networking afterwards, I had a massive existential crisis, bawled my eyes out, tried to destroy my own art and ended up twerking with sad IT sales guys at The Baron on Main.
This is how my day went. While I sat listening to the other talks, I had an idea. I’d paint the Joburg skyline and include quotes from other talks in it. This is the first version:
I was on a high, ready to ace my talk, when… my mic failed. I stood there on the stage like an idiot for 5 minutes while they tried to fix it. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have a large wooden chicken in my arms. This has happened to me before, at another major event, and that made it worse because it felt, again, like I was the butt of a large cosmic joke. I wanted to die up there. And it would have been ok if the talk had gone as well as I had hoped, and I’d connected, and people had liked it, but it fell flat. So there I sat alone in my chair and dissolved into a pathetic heap of snot en trane because I wanted so much from this and worked so hard for it, and things still went wrong and worst of all, the truth is I just wasn’t as good as I should have been. Anthea Pokroy, who spoke after me, came back and helped me with my panda eyes. Then I went outside and dropped the painting face down on the lawn in the visitors’ parking area and stomped on it and felt very slightly better.
When I got home, I had another go, this time with it facing lipstick up. Funnily enough, I think the attempt to destroy it actually improved it. This is a much more accurate portrayal of Johannesburg than a bit of lipstick and writing alone. If I can find a buyer, I will donate all the proceeds (R1500) to Home of Hope. Anyone who owns will know that there’s an interesting story behind it. So if you know anyone who might be interested, give me a shout on Twitter. You can find me @Anatinus.