After discovering her comic, “Bad Words,” in the 2012 BFA Cartooning Magazine, Funny Garbage CEO and of Red Hot founder John Carlin recruited SVA alumnus Hilary Allison (BFA 2012 Cartooning) to provide artwork for Red Hot’s most recent release, Red Hot + Bach. Red Hot, a non for profit organization whose proceeds benefit international AIDS relief and awareness, has initiated over 25 music and media related projects since its founding in 1989. Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Red Hot + Bach includes an album with 29 tracks reinterpreting the work of classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach for contemporary listeners, as well as an interactive iPad app, available for free download. Allison’s illustrations are featured in a video on the app, “An Illustrated Life of J.S. Bach.”
“John and associate producer Melody Rabe guided me with a list of 10 important events in Bach’s life to include,” Allison says, adding that she learned some things about the musician in the process. “There was a lot of research involved in striving to make the cartoon look reasonably accurate. What did Bach’s church look like (before it was burned down and replaced)? What did people in Bach’s region, in Bach’s class, wear in a certain year? How do powdered wigs work?”
Allison also shared her favorite anecdote that didn’t make it into the video: “Bach held an enviable position as church musician, didn’t practice, clashed with his employers and brawled with his students in the town market. Church officials ruled in favor of the students, seeing as Bach had apparently called one of them a ‘ninny-goated bassoonist.’”
Allison was not the only member of the SVA community brought in on the project—SVA Acting Chairman and faculty member Milton Glaser designed the album cover (below). Sam Kang (BFA 2006 Graphic Design) provided interactive design and programming for the app, and Justin Colt (MFA 2013 Design) and Joe Fresneda (MFA 2013 Design), of the design studio The Collected Works, provided additional graphic design for the project.
The BFA Cartooning Magazine is an annual publication featuring the work of graduating BFA Cartooning students and distributed to industry professionals. For more information, click here.