Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Hunger”

I continue with my illustrations for Flash Fiction February 2020, twenty-nine days of flash fiction stories at Fictive Dream,  an online fiction magazine featuring short stories.

For the event I created a small abstract painting for each selection – in fact, I did more than one painting per story. I am showing you all the images, day by day, throughout February. I’m also including a short write-up as to how I went about turning the authors’ words into pictorial representations.

I hope you’ll take a look at my art, then go to Fictive Dream, see which image editor Laura Black chose for the magazine, and read the story!

Thank you to Laura for her faith in my work and to the authors for such wonderful material to work with.

Today’s story is:

Hunger by Louis Gallo. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


The imagery in this story is that of Italian food. It holds together the past and present as a theme of togetherness around the dinner table. The events in the story seem to radiate out from this central image. There is a lot of food to fill the body, in contrast with the problems the characters have in getting the right amount or right kind of emotional fulfillment.

Image 15 – Using a red-orange color for the background, as so much Italian food involves the tomato, I set out an array of dishes described in the story: artichoke, fava beans, bruschetta – on a white square for the table. I showed the food from above, especially the artichoke with its layered interior revealed, because the main character seems detached from the scene, though everything is laid out for display.

Image 16 – In this image I also used red for the background and I arrayed the food as if on platters – artichoke, bruschetta, fava beans, and lemon ricotta cake. I separated them, giving space between them, as the main character is separated from the others in the story, once again detached and detaching himself.

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Hunger”

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    Both illustrations are delicious! You capture and convey the sensory experience of a feast perfectly. I think the first image speaks to me about the nature of the story more – the food that should be a symbol of togetherness but there is that dividing line of dark beans striking through the composition, the separation the narrator feels from others, or the way the narrator divides himself off from others. It’s an interesting thought to ponder, when passion, hunger, drive might become interpreted not as positive attributes but as negative neediness. Still, I rather think the problem rests with the narrator and not with Dixie.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I enjoyed illustrating this story for a lot of reasons, and it was fun to be portraying food, especially when I got to use such vivid red and orange colors. I found the idea of hunger, who is hungry (or not) and what it said about the characters (even the extended family) for whom meals and eating is how they express their emotions, and how it can be interpreted in a variety of ways, hunger, even in the same person. Appetite, I guess I’m thinking!

  2. Laura Black

    Hunger by Louis Gallo is among my favourite of the Flash Fiction February stories. Gallo has an original voice and I was delighted with both images. That said, image 15 stood out immediately as being the right one – the colours are so vivid and I love the representation of the food, especially the artichoke. I like your interpretation that the narrator is detached resulting in an aerial view of the meal. Just beautiful. Thank you, Claudia.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      The food was the star (visually) of this story for me, and I followed the cues from the food descriptions. I love the combination of red/orange and turquoise/greens that evolved and I felt it fit the story.

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