Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Art

childrens art hanging on a display writing prompt
Image copyright K.S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2018.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Art”

  1. ELIGIBLE FOR EDITOR’S CHOICE ONLY

    A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Number Code

    “Look at that art,” said Whizbot.

    “It’s more than art,” Miss Glitter replied. “It’s a window into the simulation. It shows us things that lie beyond our senses.”

    “How so?”

    “Where are you at this moment?”

    “With you.”

    “No,” she said. “You are here——————>[.]”

    “Huh?”

    “To be more precise, you are number 183,786,576,426 in the great number code.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Look around you,” she said, spreading out her glittery arms. “What do you think holds all of this together?”

    He shook his head. “I’m not sure.”

    She laughed. “You are number 183,786,576,426, and your purpose is to fit into the code between number 183,786,576,425 and number 183,786,576,427.”

    “But I am more than a number. I think. A number doesn’t think.”

    “How do you know? Have you ever talked to a number? Or to a letter? You might be surprised what they have to tell you.”

    “I’m confused.”

    “That’s what they want.”

    “Huh…?”

    “I want to walk to the moon,” she said.

    “That’s impossible.”

    “Exactly. Trying to do the impossible keeps you aware of your limitations.”

    “You’re talking in riddles,” Whizbot sighed.

    “A riddle is just a device to tell us the obvious. For example, gravity prevents us from going beyond this world. It limits us… holds us down… even though we want to soar… to see beyond…”

    “I think I understand.”

    “Art frees us… it allows us to transcend the gravity of this world and the limits of our mind.”

  2. Art
    Brumous concerning how long ago the apocalypse was, or when I encountered some survivors. Oddly, now they seemed like my lifelong friends. Had we been together since eternity? In many ways we had.
    Loathe to leave the mega yacht; it meant the known, security, our own. A home. Unwilling to leave and fearsome of what we might discover, were dangerous concepts.

    Darkling thoughts came tiptoeing into mind, then ruthlessly stomping in trying to obtain a firm footing. Fortunately, I zoomed in on a friend reminiscing.

    “You know what I miss….? No, not fancy restaurants. Not even romantic walks or my bed. Definitely not television. Silly me, I don’t miss easy living and the occasional convenient supermarket trip. Not even order. Sticky fingers! I miss the sticky fingers of children. All right, I sound absurd, I know. But you see I was an elementary school art teacher. I miss the children making glorious colours and finger painting their creations onto paper. One of my last days before that awful catastrophe, I remember their cheerful, jolly artwork fluttering like so many jewels in the fresh air to dry. There were happy-go-lucky flowers, the usual rainbow unicorns, black bugs or perhaps they were aliens. I like to think that that artwork is still bright and happy on the easels and not the dead and lifeless grey of the apocalypse. No. I am certain that the artwork still flutters freely and blissfully.”
    “Freely and blissfully,” I repeated with relish.

  3. “And this one?” The Informator rapped on the screen, using his extendible claw. “Can anyone tell me what this one’s meant to be?”

    The class went quiet. Adams affected a cough, pretending he’d contracted pleurisy. The traditional ailments were making a resurgence, Lyme disease currently being the most common cause of fatalities in the Americas. It had been placed third in Eurasia, coming behind the Spanish Flu and Ebola. Housemaid’s Knee had re-emerged in Chad and Uganda, its victims requiring multiple amputations in the most severe cases.

    “Adams – you’re excused,” the automaton said. “Now, can anyone else tell me what the image represents?”

    “Is it a larch?” Tompkins said, half raising his hand. “Only my father used to say it was the best choice if you were unsure of the answer.”

    The Informator growled, grinding its gears. Tompkins had given the same answer for the previous three images, and it was becoming tired of leading this class. It was a far cry from being active on the front lines in Western Russia. And to think it had traded PTSD for a career in education.

    “Anybody else?” It scanned the rows again, looking for anyone showing an iota of interest. It was about to offer the answer itself when James raised her hand.

    “Is it a daisy?” she said. “Only it’s got petals and a stem. And the thing on the top’s a flower. Amirite?”

    “Close enough,” said the Informator. “And now for my next slide – 20th-century world leaders.”

  4. Art…Is…Trying

    Right out of the chute, you need to know that I know diddlysquat about art. It’s so bad, I don’t even know what I don’t like. Mind you, that has never stopped me from having an opinion. I guess I’m no different than anyone else, you know…people who know everything.
    Yup, I’m one of those.
    Art is not my vice.
    But it is certainly not my virtue.
    People have tried to teach me…things like, ‘art for art’s sake.’
    Gibberish, I say.
    I perceive a note of skepticism.
    Nothing you’ve said, mind you.
    Even if you had said something, I can’t hear you.
    I’m here…and you’re there.
    Maybe I’ve given you a false note about my relationship with art.
    Maybe it’s the word.
    My old man was named Art.
    Not Arthur!
    Not King Arthur!
    Not Dudley Moore’s film character, Arthur.
    Though trust me there are some similarities.
    No, he was just plain Art.
    He tried to be a father to me.
    A good one.
    I was poor material, I suppose.
    I just didn’t get Art.
    Or art.
    Eventually, we’d find ourselves in the same room.
    In the living room watching d Sullivan.
    Or in the kitchen where we ate…eating dinner.
    Both of us…not much different than drying paint.
    No words passed between us.
    None that I can repeat here.
    Now, I’m artless.
    And Art Less.
    So when I wander into a community market, one full of vegetables, trinkets, and somebody’s art, I run screaming.
    My heart just isn’t in it.

    1. One edit…a serious ED-it
      Art…Is…Trying

      Right out of the chute, you need to know that I know diddlysquat about art. It’s so bad, I don’t even know what I don’t like. Mind you, that has never stopped me from having an opinion. I guess I’m no different than anyone else, you know…people who know everything.
      Yup, I’m one of those.
      Art is not my vice.
      But it is certainly not my virtue.
      People have tried to teach me…things like, ‘art for art’s sake.’
      Gibberish, I say.
      I perceive a note of skepticism.
      Nothing you’ve said, mind you.
      Even if you had said something, I can’t hear you.
      I’m here…and you’re there.
      Maybe I’ve given you a false note about my relationship with art.
      Maybe it’s the word.
      My old man was named Art.
      Not Arthur!
      Not King Arthur!
      Not Dudley Moore’s film character, Arthur.
      Though trust me there are some similarities.
      No, he was just plain Art.
      He tried to be a father to me.
      A good one.
      I was poor material, I suppose.
      I just didn’t get Art.
      Or art.
      Eventually, we’d find ourselves in the same room.
      In the living room watching Ed Sullivan.
      Or in the kitchen where we ate…eating dinner.
      Both of us…not much different than drying paint.
      No words passed between us.
      None that I can repeat here.
      Now, I’m artless.
      And Art Less.
      So when I wander into a community market, one full of vegetables, trinkets, and somebody’s art, I run screaming.
      My heart just isn’t in it.

  5. RUBBISH

    The exhibition’s launch was postponed until four, but my editor needed a review by then. Artistic critiques formed half my income. The only paper I reviewed for was the Sunday Report, so I couldn’t miss their deadline.

    Regrettably, I knew the solution; write my review before seeing the work.

    I rationalized that I already knew it was rubbish because I’d seen Emma Tracing’s work before. Everyone had. Tabloid readers laughed at her exhibition called Spit, exhibiting the very stuff it was named after. Her show called Summer copied the way young children paint, each piece taking under ten minutes to complete. It made the news when one of them sold for a million.

    Sitting outside, I typed the worst review I could, before being allowed in.

    I wrote, “Every piece was literally garbage. After seeing this, perhaps you will view the world in a different way. The contents of your swing bin might appear a masterpiece and what you have flushed down the U-bend could seem worthy of an award. Inspiring, if you live near a landfill.”

    Smiling at my own sarcastic praise, I sent the review off.

    A half hour later, allowed in, the first thing I saw was a large plastic bin turned upside down, it’s household waste strewn across the floor. In the next room I saw a toilet, its U-bend smashed, human excreta beside it.

    Damn!

    It appeared that I may have, unwittingly, just given Emma Tracing a good review.

  6. Parkview Daily Dispatch – Carl Gruber: Critic At Large

    Dateline: Parkview Elementary School Art Show and Car Wash: The Art world was turned on its head after the incredible revelation of up-’n-coming art star Melissa Troben (1st Grade) at the vaunted second annual Parkview Elementary show. I shall humbly attempt to illuminate the majesty of her latest masterwork to date.

    Troben’s piece, “Hors_ _ (unreadable characters)” is a mixed-media tour-de force that demonstrates her unequaled mastery of the crayon, pencil, and what appears to be (hopefully) strawberry jelly. With the obvious influences as diverse as Caravaggio and Elsa, new insights were distilled from both simple and complex meanings… facilitated by the essential unreality of the moment. My contemplation of her work soon became finessed into a carnival of power, leaving only a sense of decadence and the inevitability of a new understanding. It’s initially unambiguous meanings were shattered and disseminated endlessly.

    Her work explores the in-between spaces of migration in search of a visual form that exponentially describes what it feels like to be neither here nor there and the relationship between the tyranny of aging and midlife subcultures. It challenges us to see beyond the distraction of the conspicuous to capture its unique self.

    In a face-to-face interview, the artist stated,”It’s a horsie.”

    -C. Gruber

    -30-

  7. “Sheesh, someone sure thinks highly of their little brat’s finger-paintings.”

    “What’re you talking about?”

    “Right over there. See all those pictures that look like a first-grader did them, displayed like they’re actual serious art. I thought Arts in the Park was supposed to be a juried show.”

    “It may be outsider art. A lot of jurying committees are trying to move beyond the academic art scene…”

    “Don’t tell me it’s another of those ‘inclusiveness’ things.”

    “Maybe we’d better just drop the whole discussion. I’ve seen too many friendships destroyed when people started talking politics.”

    “You’re probably right. I sure don’t want to end up sounding like Khrushchev bashing Neizvestny, even if I do think they look like a little kid did them.”

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