John Kricfalusi. Name sound familiar? maybe you remember him as John K. I had read this post The Importance Of Having A Lot Of Influences about a month and a half ago on his really excellent all kinds of stuff blog.
The post talks about influences in art and how important it is to look into not just the basics of the art you're into, but what influenced the artists to create what they did.
So lets say for say for sake of argument Nine Inch Nails is your favorite band. You love NIN so much it makes you want to make music. Your next step is to look into what made him make the music he does- so you would read about and listen to some Skinny Puppy, Prince, The Clash, Depeche Mode, and Ministry.
Maybe Skinny Puppy strikes your fancy and you adore the band. Now you go back further and listen to Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, and Severed Heads. So on and so forth.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a real understanding of the art that came before. Without knowing the past, there is no chance for a future.
Please read his entry, if you are an illustrator, musician, designer or effects make up artist. It will put things into a new light for you.
One more thing- Speaking of influences. Check out the work of Zan Lyons Sort of a moving amalgimation of Chris Cuningham and Boards of Canada cover art.
Really cool, and really inspiring.