Same with musicians. They are definitely artists.
As a writer, I talk a lot about other writers and books that influence me, but sometimes I forget how much the other categories of artists inspire me, as well.
Music is a big one. When I listen to instrumental music, I see worlds and envision scenes to fit with that music. When I was a kid, I used to lie in bed listening to my favorite movie soundtracks and make up new stories to go with them. Hell, I still do that. For Monsters, I have a Pandora station based around Evanescence and other angsty female rock bands, but I've actually found the Tron: Legacy soundtrack has shaped my story quite a bit - or at least inspired scenes I hadn't previously considered.
Last night, I went to a concert for these three amazing guitarists - one of them originally from Topeka. They are touring all over the country right now. The lead guy, Andy McKee, became an almost overnight sensation when he put himself on Youtube. Seeing him on stage, having a blast, doing what he loves and making a living at it - just the look of passion and being truly alive as he entertained us - inspires me a great deal to continue to push myself to follow my dreams.
Visual arts - painting and drawing and sculptures and photography - also trigger stories in me. I have always struggled with setting. I have a vague idea of what something looks like, but the details are missing in my writing. Visual representations help me really think about the details. Also, sometimes a picture will really speak to me and I'll be driven to write a story that fits the scene. I'll want to tell the story of how that domed city on the cliff came to be, or why the sky has inexplicable green miasma in it, and where that dragon got all of those books. Then characters start to wander around inside the images to answer all of these questions for me.
I support all of my other fellow artists in the small ways that I can. I buy their products, I look for more stuff that they’ve done, I tell my friends about their work. I can't wait to buy the two anthologies my writing friend R.L.Naquin is about to be published in. As an artist myself, I like to enable other artists who are trying to make their way with their art, in hopes that someday people will support me and my passion.
It’s a whole other blog entry, but most of the time, artists who are trying to make it do it because they are driven to do it, not because they want to. Who would choose that life? It’s incredibly hard work full of constant self-doubt and the fear that you are just a passing fad or you won’t be able to finish the next project on which your next paycheck depends.
This input/output is a shout out to all my fellow artists, and a plea to the rest of you to support the artists you admire. Keep doing what you do. Maybe buy one of my books someday.