The first exhibition that I ever went to with the express purpose of seeing work from a particular artist, was Masami Teraoka's showing at the Asian Art Museum in SF. This would have been '95 I think, which would have made me a spritely 15 years old. I wouldn't start painting myself for a few years, but I remember seeing Masami's work and really loving his Ukiyo-e style paintings; the combination of modern elements and themes, but executing them in way that looked somehow traditional.
A few years later, my band was planning a tour in Japan and I sent Masami an email asking if there was anything I should see...mostly because it was a good excuse to contact him. (I can't imagine sending an email to a complete stranger now to ask them for something to do during a visit to an entire country, only because they happen to be from there, but back then it seemed like a good idea). Turns out he didn't even live in Japan anymore, but that email sparked regular correspondence and a friendship that's lasted years.
I've been helping Masami and his wife Lynda with their website for a while now and last year we started on a brand new one that just went live. He often sends me pieces he's working on, and I almost always send my new work to him for notes. Our styles are very different but often the subject matter loosely relates, although his paintings are much more narrative...he's also been painting for over 50 years, so the guy knows what he's talking about.
Here's a work in progress picture (at right) he sent me for one his triptych cabinet things, you can see a piece of mine that he got last year on the wall over the door. sweet!