What do you do for a living and is this your primary vocation?
I live for a living (Which is the easiest and most difficult part). I'm also a Creative Director (art) in advertising and design communication.
Why do you feel you got attracted towards graphic design compared to other sub-sects of design?
To answer the first part of your question:
I was always attracted to graphics. For example, I was inexplicably drawn to an image of Anne Bancroft's bare leg stopping Dustin Hoffman in his path on the album cover of The Graduate. I must have been 3 years old. I was too young to understand a mature and complex human relationship as represented on the cover but not too young to be intrigued by its symbology, by its juxtaposition of elements, by its meaning. I finally saw The Graduate last year. I was 45.
(Astrologically, I have Mercury conjunct Moon in my birth chart which i discovered much later in my life when I studied astrology. It gives me the potential to communicate and articulate my feelings in words and in the visual language of graphic design.)
To answer the second part of your question:
I don't see sub-sects in design much like I don't see a difference in truth just because it is spoken in a different language. For example, product design invites me to feel and understand as much as typography invites me to feel and understand. Both communicate and inform me. They just speak a different language and engage me differently.
Has any person or experience particularly influenced you during the early stages of your career in design? Have those influences evolved or have they been exchanged for newer thoughts?
All people and experiences have influenced me and continue to influence me to this day.
It is my need at a point in time that draws me to one or the other.These influences haven't evolved, rather it's my understanding of these influences that has.
Put another way: When I go to the forest I see order where I once saw chaos.
How would you explain what 'design' means to a child (8 year old)?
To explain what design means is like putting the cart before the horse. Meaning is inherent in design. It is the answer.
I would instead nurture a child's curiosity so that he may feel unafraid to question. This in turn will give him permission (non-verbally) to use his intuition and find the answer.
Which is precisely what design is: an intuitive answer to a question.
What keeps you up at night and what helps you wake up each morning?
Understanding myself as part of the design of this Universe.