Artistic methods have been used throughout the history of science as a tool for research, dissemination, education and outreach. Traditional artistic approaches provide the flexibility to explore and integrate ideas, promoting hypothesis generation and inspiring creative thinking. We describe two artistic approaches that we have applied in our own research: the use of intuitive metaphors to make new connections and present scientific subjects in an interpretable manner, and an integrative approach that synthesizes diverse sources of data into a self-consistent image. The process of creating artistic renderings inspires us to examine scientific data from new angles and capture the current state of knowledge within a broader context. Artistic hands-on activities and non-traditional media like fashion and video games have the power to engage new communities, sparking curiosity for science and increasing public understanding. Overall, translating scientific concepts into art is a powerful tool for exploring scientific data as part of research, as well as bridging the gap between the scientific community and the general public.