Art Tells A Story


- Scott Sample

Last night I was up late with a good friend: a fellow artist, musician, and on his way to becoming ordained as an Anglican priest. If you know me at all, it means that the night was about not only trying to solve an array of the world’s problems, but inventing a few more ourselves. Whenever I’m spending time with someone like my friend Tyler, momentum inevitably carries the conversation forward and before we know it, we’ve landed in a completely new place. Story leads to story leads to story. 

I’ve noticed lately when I listen to artists talk about their work, whether it is a piece of music, a painting, or craft, the meaning and purpose are best described by story. Real stories of how the art was not just created but what happens afterwards, the effect and impact on others. The connection between what we create and its meaning for others has become a bedrock for my work as well.


In his expansive interactive book “Create: Transforming Stories of Art, Life, and Faith” Joey O’Connor writes this;

“I believe that the heart of all creative transformation begins with one person, with one story. One story is all it takes for one word, one thought or one idea to click inside our hearts and unlock whatever door that we have no way of opening ourselves.”

With art as with life it’s how, when, and where we share our stories that really connects us. It has always been this way; Jesus used stories to teach and connect us to the Father, knowing we would find meaning in our shared experience.  I believe an honestly executed painting can bring us there as well. 


When I’m inspired to create a piece or even a whole series, it’s rare that I know the outcome. In fact, it never seems to be the initial vision that becomes the final piece. Process always seems to determine the direction, like a fluid dance. Creating art is so much about the process; the stories I myself discover along the long and convoluted road to completion are ultimately the fabric that ties together the people who experience it. Art becomes a dynamic, beautiful vessel for containing us through experience and meaning. It’s really in the telling of the story that we find an open door into the hearts of others. 

In the Hope series, there are layers of idea, image, and meaning. Like how a tree grows with concentric rings out continually from the center, the paintings in this series are a reflection of hope and the promise of peace as our faith pulls us through the dark places. The forest of trees represents us; we are all in our own spot, emphasized by the differing distances and levels of the individual trees, moving toward Hope. I love the way the hint of background bathed in light comes through in an unexpected layer, taking us all the way to the base and further connecting us with the trees – and our own movement toward peace. Each time I talk about how you move into and through these works, I see people getting glimpses of understanding, but also connecting with their own experience. Whenever that happens, art becomes a conduit to connect, share, and unite. 

Scott Sample.jpg

Scott Sample is both a passionate Fine Artist as well as Executive Creative Director and a Principle Partner of Initio, Inc. As an original founder of Initio, Mr. Sample’s previous experience and unwavering passion for impactful visual communications has allowed him to build a myriad of successful campaigns for a wide variety of both corporate and institutional clients. Before founding Initio he was a Designer and Art Director for various firms in Boston and New England as well as an Independent Art Director for the Dayton Hudson Corporation. He has directed a wide range of accounts including: American Finance Group, K2 In-Line Skates, The American Cancer Society, InMotion, United Asset Management, Dayton’s/Target, August Schell Brewery and many others.

Mr. Sample has a Master of Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Kent and a BFA from MCAD in Visual Communications. He is also has taught design in the post undergraduate program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Scott's work has been published in numerous magazines and books, as well as public and private galleries. As an Executive Creative Director at Initio, Mr. Sample creates and manages integrated marketing programs that are far-reaching in nature and scope. Mr. Sample leads the teams through strategic positioning, program and campaign positioning, branding, identity systems and overall creative direction.

To see more of Scott's work, see his new site -