The man behind Elmo also serves as the Creative Director of Sesame Street and learned his chops alongside Jim Henson and Frank Oz. He was discovered by Kermit Love, who coached him on the intricacies of puppeteering. Prior to that, as a teenager he made nearly hundreds of his own puppets and used them for his own performances. This kind of discipline for a craft came from his profound passion and curiosity for construction.
Clash has stated that the creation of Elmo came from one simple place - LOVE. Elmo stands for love and because of that he is one of the most beloved characters of all time. I had the chance to meet Elmo and made red fur pants and a red fur bowtie for the event. I swear it was better than meeting even the biggest of rock stars. Elmo is a giant. A little furry red GIANT. And Clash is his wrangler, giving over his entire person for the character. I've seen it and it is magical.
Kevin Clash (and Elmo):