We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephen Connor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephen, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
We have an adult child with a disability. In that case, work/life challenge is tested to the limit. I work far less than I would otherwise, as we need to put our own time in to assure her health and well-being.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I first became excited about art in the 1970s, and moved to Brooklyn to attend Pratt Institute. The art we saw at the time included deKooning, Frank Stella and others. As excited as I was by making art, there was also a human potential movement going on, and I moved from NY to CA to be involved in that. The challenge of our daughter, with her profound disabilities, came in my early 20’s. I learned it was an enormous challenge to stay afloat, and the time and energy to make art was beyond my grasp. As a stop gap solution, I worked as an art director in a nearby ad agency and had my own small business studio doing design for printed materials and interactive media. Continuing to seek work solutions that allowed me to be flexible with my time, I switched to teaching art and design along. I felt helping people directly was more satisfying than helping corporate clients, although the pay was far less. Currently I am working with ACC to help students create 3D games as a large group project. I learned how to work with teams along the way, and apply that experience. I also work with a group of fine artists named Artists916 to organize exhibitions. I think what I found out along the way is, that teams, families, and associates, can cooperate and get more accomplished than a single person can alone.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In the morning I would take them to El Chilito on Manor for a coffee and an egg taco. We would ride around Austin on electric bikes. In the afternoon we would head back to El Chilto for a lunch taco and a beer. In the evening (post Covid) we would go to Alamo Mueller for a movie.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife Amy Connor deserves a shoutout. Our daughter has a rare genetic disorder named Pitt Hopkins. Amy has done everything from working with other disabled children to training herself in genetics to help give our daughter the best she could possibly have.
Stephen Paul Connor