The Professor pays tribute to a former student who passed away

miguelcalvo

Note :: In the prime of his career, the designer and event producer Miguel Calvo died unexpectedly this year. The Professor herein offers a version of the statement that was shared at Miguel’s memorial service.

Even when he was The Professor’s junior-level student in NYC, Miguel Calvo blended the empathic and cosmic humanity of an old soul with the urgent rhythms and risky preferences of an urban youth unfettered in the big city. To The Professor, he was a challenge. A multi-tool creative jock-in-training but also a kid who needed attention, maybe even protection. But Miguel had the self-confident charisma of the cute-but-dedicated underdog who’s destined to come out on top, and he had a winning, seemingly endless flair for the dramatic in his schoolwork — and The Professor sensed, in his private life, too.

The Professor particularly enjoyed the memory of Miguel’s wining entry put together for a multi-school competition that was admittedly a little bit out there: the design and fabrication of a Rube Goldberg-inspired contraption for delivering a glass of whiskey. As The Professor watched him go from his first scribbles to early three-dimensional models to a full-scale prototype, he saw Miguel rise with his project; in retrospect, The Professor would say that the contraption-making experience was a key part of Miguel finding his more mature creative voice [ironically, thanks to his willfully playful and purposefully rule-bending project].

A year or so after that project, Miguel emerged from Parsons. For a while The Professor doesn’t recall hearing from him or seeing his work anywhere and then, after a pause, Miguel seemed to be shaking things up all over NYC. Objects, restaurants, event productions, spectacles of one sort or another—Miguel tackled them all, and from what The Professor could tell at a distance, he was quite successful at what he did.

it is always sad when the student dies before the teacher, when the son passes prior to his parents, and Miguel’s death was no exception. But for The Professor, Miguel will always be remembered for flouting convention, for trying to get away with something, in class or out, just because it was more fun for him to do it that way. The Professor regrettably lost touch with Miguel after his own move to California. But for now and ever, The Professor pictures Miguel in a crowded, frenzied, happening club where Miguel at first doesn’t seem to know anyone, yet a little later, Miguel’s chatting up the doormen, and not long after that a crowd is clustered around him and he seems to know everyone… well, as he’d put it, everyone that mattered: namely, the most eclectic, crazed, willfully wild, and angel-headed hipsters in attendance.

That was Miguel Calvo, and that’s why they call his former teacher The Professor. ©2014

 

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