Friday, January 23, 2009

Diego Macellaro

I met Diego only briefly, a few days ago. He came to New York to work on an animated commercial.
He was VP Creative Director at Saatchi Venezuela. We walked in the snow in Times Square and in the park in Dumbo, had fusion food at Koi and pizza at Grimaldi's, where he was appalled at the rudeness of the service and the Magnificent Arepa and I assured him, not very convincingly, that it was all part of the charm. He struck me as an atypical creative director. Nothing in him advertised the calculated hipness that is often customary in the advertising business. He was charming and easy going and laid back and very cool. He told us he still loved to draw. He enjoyed himself immensely, was totally not high-maintenance and he also seemed very talented.
He was 48 years old and had two young children.
He was killed by a female drunk driver as he got out of the car in front of his house in Caracas, coming back from the airport. He was standing on the curb, taking either his keys or his cellphone out. She struck him so hard, his body flew about 4 meters.
Even if I only spent a few lovely hours in his company, I am very upset about Diego.
Sometimes the untimely death of someone utterly tangential in our lives creates an enormous sense of shock and grief. Perhaps it was because I had just met him, there is a terrible sense of lost potential, and the shock and fear and disbelief of the random, stupid cruelty of the accident. The horrible reminder of how fragile we really are.
But besides a sadness I can't seem to shake off, I feel a terrible rage.
Even though the driver ended up crashing into a wall, nothing happened to her. I hear she is loaded and loaded with lawyers. So I hope guilt eats up her entrails every second of her waking life, and nightmares hound her in her sleep for as long as she breathes. Because most likely, she ain't gonna spend a minute in jail.
Car accidents are the number one cause of death in Venezuela. The roads and signs are terrible, there is not enough police and people drive aggressively and irresponsibly. There is a lot of drunk driving. Many families count 2 or three victims of car accidents. You hear people say: my grandpa, my father and my cousin all died in car wrecks. People think this is normal.
In fact, last year Hugo Chavez decided to ban the sale of alcohol over the weekend of Holy Week in order to curb road fatalities and people almost rioted against it (the one thing that could cost him his job, the people's right to drink themselves to death). I hate the macho irresponsibility, the constant flirtation with disaster, the mindless love of chaos, the childishness of it all. It's a Latin American thing, the cavalier disregard for human life, when it comes to sober, responsible behavior. It sickens me.
I feel for Diego's family: his parents, his wife and children, his friends and colleagues, who I am sure adored him.


  1. Anonymous11:50 PM

    My heart is broken... Diego Macellaro was a great person; very good father, lovely husband, and very, very, talented professional.

    I am so angry at the person that took his life in such irresponsible way and has changed forever the lives of his two little children and his wife. It is hard to breathe thinking that this person could just walk away and continue with her life after she has destroyed a wonderful family.

    I will always cherish every minute spent at the Macellaro’s home and will remember Diego with a smile, drinking a good whiskey, and making a joke with a spark in his eyes...

    My heart, prayers, and thoughts are with the Macellaro – Casadei family.

  2. Anonymous2:54 PM

    When we hear about an accident or an horrible death, we always think that would never happen to us or anybody who we know.

    I'm so gratefull to meet Diego 2 years ago and to have the opportunity to work and share so many things with him, that experience changed my life for good,

    I always remember him as a great man, a talent professional, a great boss, good husband, good father, son, friend an humanitary person. His death makes me think that life can be so unfair sometimes.

    I just hope his soul is in peace and having good time on heaven with so many colours... i'm sure he'll enjoy it.

    From now when i go to work at Aw Nazca i will remember his good mornings saying "bongiorno"
    with a great smile on his face and that shine on his eyes.

    Surely Diego is making a creative campaign just right now up there..

    Who had the opportunity to meet him, will love him forever...

  3. I've been one of those lucky people who worked aside Diego, since the very first day he step in AW as creative VP. Since that day, my professional approach to advertising changed. I've enjoyed everyday at the creative dept. the whole years I was there.
    For known reasons I had to migrate to Spain, but I knew I'll count with a good friend at AW.

    A year later I came back to CSS with my newborn daughter, and we visit him. I'll never forget the shine in his eyes when we met. The conversation was quite normal, about Tarragona, where he came form, or Italy, his second land... but the truth is, two good friends were having a friendly chat. And how he missed my storyboards...

    My thoughts are now with his family and friends, and I'll see at the sky with new eyes... "dio porco"

  4. "Bongiorno" Diego, espero estés muy bien allá!

    En la próxima reunión de creativos espero que te guste el trabajo que he hecho y además podamos dibujar!

    Se le quiere.


  5. le quiere por siempre!

  6. Diego Macellaro was my boss, my friend, almost like my dad... I'll be always grateful to him for giving me the opportunity of work with him for 5 years, and share all his knowedge, friendship, teachings and black label whiskey with me... He gave me the opportunity to be big, and I took it... I always talk of him as my "creative father"... Is very painful for me that Diego is gone, he was a very talented artist, a wonderful human being (even with his "catalán" bad mood that he had sometimes) and a very respected and loved creative...

    He must be receiving a briefing from God now...

    Have fun up there dad!
    And drink one for me!

    Eduardo F.

  7. Lamento mucho la desaparicion fisica, de tan excelente profesional,lo conoci poco, cuando trabaje para la empresa Comstat Rowland, pero su recuerdo siempre estara presente en nuestros corazones de los que tuvimos la oportunidad de conocerlo.
    De la misma manera un gran abrazo a todo el personal de AW.
    Mis mas carinosos y calurosos abrazos, para su linda familia.

    Ilse Wulff

  8. I love for ever in my heart... he was very special
    Gracias y un beso enorme dónde estés!

  9. Anonymous3:08 PM

    desde España muchas gracias por todas las maravillosas palabras que dedicais a mi primo del alma un beso a todos .yoli

  10. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Es casi imposible de creer...
    Lo recordaré por su gran calidad como persona, excelente profesional y por los agradebles minutos de conversación que tuve con él. Se fue, pero nos dejó mucho. Gracias.

    Mis mas sinceras condolencias a su familia y amigos cercanos.

  11. Anonymous5:06 PM

    I don't remember if I had the opportunity to personally meet Diego, but we have a lot of common friends. I did meet his wife Ana, when I started out my career in advertising several years ago. She was an excellent account director, and used to tell me about his husband being a free lance art director. I got a lot of respect for her and intuitively figured out the her husband must be a great professional too.

    There is no way to fully recover from a tragedy as absurd as this one but I wanted to send my thoughts out to her and her family.

    Mucha fuerza Ana.

  12. Anonymous12:58 AM

    He leído detenidamente cada palabra nacida desde el corazón, de quienes lo tuvieron cerca un segundo o muchos años... siempre se agradece el cariño sincero.
    Sin embargo, estamos, los que conocemos los matices de su "felicidad"... verdad Yoli?
    Ahora, nos quedan las simples y básicas reflexiones de la vida; nos queda la imagen más intrañable y arraigada en el corazón que amó incondicionalmente. Sin olvidar aquellos, que no fueron capaces de elevarle a sonrisas sinceras... eso es lo que hace pensar más hoy que nunca, y da pena que los amigos sinceros tengan una foto que no existe dentro del alma de Diego... Yoli... tú lo sabes mejor que nadie. Sigamos orando para que la luz le llene sus hermosas energías.