Hermeneutic phenomenology informed two qualitative methodologies used in my doctoral research: narrative case studies and auto-ethnography. Through these methodologies, I investigated the phenomenon of place and identity in visual artistic practice. Four narrative case studies of four artists were developed using experience-focused narrative inquiry and thematic analysis. Auto-ethnography was used to investigate the phenomenon of place and identity within my own practice as visual artist. This involved analysis of my artworks that encompassed place and identity and writing from different contexts of my past, rather than relying on memory recall. This became textural writing in the phenomenon rather than describing what I already knew. This enabled me to challenge conventional ways of telling my story (big stories) and produced ‘small stories’ from which new insights could be interpreted. The insights gained from my auto-ethnography in turn assisted me to encourage storytelling to find the small stories of my artist participants.