In the eyes and hands of artists, the entire world serves as inspiration for their craft. I believe this is especially true for literary artists. With the power of the written word, authors, poets, playwrights, and screenwriters wield the ability to interpret their world both literally and figuratively in their work, and in ways that are both explicit and implicit. Moreover, writers can be heavily influenced by other artistic mediums and the creative work of others:
— Noel Streatfeild initially pursued a theatrical career, which in turn inspired her famous series of “Shoes” books, including Ballet Shoes.
— An oil painting by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius serves as a poignant focal point in The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
While writers interpret the world around them in their work, speculative writers take interpretation a step further and turn it into reinterpretation:
— An old collection of vintage photographs directly inspired—and is included in—the haunting world of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series by children’s author Ransom Riggs.
— Maggie Stiefvater, author of the magic-filled The Raven Cycle series and the bestselling werewolf series The Shiver Trilogy, is an ardent music lover and builds playlists that influence her writing.
Inspiration is not a one-way street, however. I suspect that creators across all artistic disciplines feed on the beauty and wonder inherent in other art forms. As a writer, I’m particularly intrigued by the prospect of dancers, painters, photographers, and singers who find inspiration in the books they read, especially if those books are science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, and dark fiction. The mystery and magic of the speculative genre can be expressed in multi-dimensional ways, which is why I’m excited to begin a new series for “The S Word” column called “Speculative-Inspired Arts.”
“Speculative-Inspired Arts” will focus on the SFF+ interests of women-identifying artists from various mediums and disciplines to find out how their inner geek influences their artistic expression. My primary goal is to present one-on-one interviews with women whose products are focused on, inspired by, or used in speculative fiction work. I’ll also include posts on art forms not normally associated with speculative fiction, such as culinary and architectural, and explore the interplay between creative worldbuilding and the applied arts. As the speculative genre often stretches across literature into film and stage (subsequent novel tie-ins for movies are nearly as common as movies based on books,) I’ll also include the inspiration and influence of those forms.
I hope to draw from a diversity of disciplines for this series: sculptors, painters, photographers, graphic artists, street artists, illustrators, singers, songwriters, musicians, voice-over artists, dancers, podcasters, costumers, makeup artists, dollmakers…the list goes on and on! And of course, as is always the goal of Luna Station Quarterly, this series will be inclusive of identity and seek to highlight creatives who don’t normally have the opportunity for recognition in their fields.
I’m excited at the prospect of meeting and talking to brilliant women who work with tools, media, and platforms that both intimidate and inspire me. In fact, if you know any women-identifying creatives whose work has a science fiction, fantasy, or supernatural bent and is publicly or commercially available, please send them my way!