Bugs Come to Life in Ali Beckman’s So Fly Taxidermy

The following portion from the article, Bugs Come to Life in Ali Beckman’s So Fly Taxidermy, by Dason Anderson was originally published by www.limestonepostmagazine.com on June 17, 2020. Featuring our forthcoming title, Bee a Good Human: A Pollinators’ Guide to a Better Life by Ali Beckman and brought to you by our publishing partner, Red Lightning Books, an imprint of Indiana University Press.  Available May 2021 wherever books are sold.

Ali Beckman’s predilection for bugs was actually more of a subconscious thing. “Why bugs?” she ponders. “I guess I never thought about that before.” Many creative endeavors are inspired by a romantic saga, and So Fly Taxidermy is no exception. “In December of 2016, I was trying my best to impress a guy,” she wrote in an email. “I would make drawings for him, which, in retrospect, felt very cool at the time. So I came home one day and found two dead flies lying next to one another. I couldn’t get it out of my head that they had had a conversation before they died. I picked the two flies up, put them on paper, drew around them, and I’ve done it every day since. The guy never worked out.”

But Beckman, who lives and works in Bloomington, was hooked on her new entomological hobby and just kept on doodling. Her hobby blossomed into a popular Instagram account (@soflytaxidermy) where she posts her illustrations. And now Beckman can add “author” to her title repertoire, as Red Lightning Books, an imprint of Indiana University Press, is publishing a collection of her cartoons.

After the initial picture of the fliesBeckman continued drawing, using dead bugs she found as focal points in the cartoons. “There was never a moment where I questioned it,” she explains. “I just went with it.” And the project took flight from there. Beckman began researching and studying all sorts of bugs, applying her insights to her art and posting her clever cartoons on Instagram. “Now I spend a lot of my free time reading about insects,” she says. “The more I know, the funnier I can be. I can take something that has died and give it a whole new life!”

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