What about the "time" issue?
It seems that a lot (but not all) boils down to the fact that we have an education system and a society that requires people to quickly join the work force. Basically, if you don't do well in this system, around the age of 18 you are out of it and looking for some job. Otherwise, around the age of 24 you are out of it and looking for a job. Let's not forget those that at the age of 13 or 15 need to make some income to help the family, or help the working parents take care of the family.
It makes sense to think that in 4 years of university level studies, no one will be a master of anything, but everyone will want a job right after that. So, you don't want to spend time learning many things and reduce your chance to be good at what you believe that job requires Sometimes, what is a requirement skill for a job is exactly what we are not learning - like, artists don't learn business even tho selling art is a business.
Maybe we are too focused on the short term rewards/accomplishments. Which is necessary! But hum... if you could spend around 40 years dedicated to other things, lets say you split it in 20 years dedicating to subject A and 20 years to subject B... Yup... someone that is a generalist and yet expert in A and B...
@Lee-White As for the engineer, I think our view of art can broaden here. Just an example that I want to explore further: every single special effect produced by CGI nowadays is the result of physical simulations, usually derived from Mechanical Engineering Simulations that engineers initially developed to understand the behaviour of fluids (that's how you have your water splashes in movies and even animations), solids and particles. And now they are implementing these in CG software for creating the special effects. Yes, you may say that the engineer is not doing art, he is just coming with some mathematical calculations and implementing them, but he is doing engineering for art.
Although, my initial thought of the engineer artist was more of someone that doesn't need to be working as an engineer anymore. Maybe he just got a BSc degree in engineering, but he did spend his time studying a lot about Robotic Engineering and other kinds of machine engineering. And it happens that this person studied a bit of art that he can create crazy designs of Mechs. I am sure his art is not as great and polished as many people that dedicated a lot to study art, but I am sure his/her Mechs can be much more interesting and creative and show details and functional parts that other artists don't know how to achieve. He/She wouldn't be hired to be an illustrator, but he/she be a good concept artist for example. This is where the time issue happens: you are not working as an engineering but you are not good enough to make a living income as an artist. Maybe we should all become experts in time management :P
This is the point where I thought: what if that teenager that loved mech manga wanted so badly to become a mech manga artist that he decided to go to art school to become this artist. He is not gonna learn anything about mechs and mech art in school. He will have to dedicate extra time to do it. So, what if instead, he had decided to do engineering? Yeah, I know you don't learn only about robots in an engineering course - but robotics is becoming a big thing ;) Would he become that creative knowledgeable mech artist? And what if the only reason he never thought about doing engineering is because since he liked manga and drawing, no one has suggested to him that venue, because most of us are still thinking in this single linear path?