Years ago, the Department Head of the Communication Arts & Designs Major at VCU School of the Arts was teaching his lecture class that was given to all of the first year students in the program. As a transfer student I had the chance to take extra classes and, had my favorite painting professor not retired, I would have probably minored in painting. I would have to scurry from my studio painting class to make it to the required lecture class taught by the department head. With my jeans and flannels covered in damp oil paint and turpentine, I settled into my seat as close as the front as I could get so I'd be sure to stay awake.
One day, the last day I opted to sit in front of the lecture hall, the prof started on a topic about how, if you were to be a successful Comm Arts graduate, you would not be able to be both a fine artist and a designer (we never used the term commercial artist - not ever). As he warmed to his topic, I noticed that he started making eye contact with me, the paint drenched kid in the front row.
I never had a studio class with that man and he didn't know me. The emphasis area that I had in the department was Illustration, and up until my graduating class, Painting I was a requirement. The thing is, I had always feared that being a designer would mean not pursuing other artistic endeavors.
Knowing the young Susan as I do, I probably went home and cried or I went to the gym and lifted weights. Or maybe my friends and I went to some hole in the wall in the fan and talked like we were poets and dreamers and ranted until late in the night.
In my life I've found that maybe we can't have It All. However, I think that depends on what It All is. As for me for one decade of my life, It All was working part-time as an exercise rider at the track, making one of a kind kites every now and then, discovering my voice as a fine artist, and leading a team of designers and illustrators to be the top creative team in our field in manufacturing.
Right now, It All is morphing into something else. I'm working on returning to my original professional field in what was once called multimedia and is now appears to be called product development. I adopted one of the racehorses I used to ride, and then adopted a second horse because I'm silly like that. To pay back a professional colleague I started face painting for events only to find that it also helps me pay for extras for the horses from time to time.
Here are links to the other creative areas of my life. As I get back to UX design, these pages will serve as my experiments and re-education in the field that my generation pioneered before you could major in it. As I said at the beginning of this page, my class was the first class of illustrators to not need painting as a required elective. It was also the last class to not need electronic media/digital publishing as a required elective.
Regardless of how I spend my time, rest assured that the lecturing prof about not being able to be a fine artist and professional designer was wrong. Maybe other things that a woman might typically want were left out, but I have enjoyed my life on my terms.