Toon In, Tune Out

Toon In, Tune Out


‘Toon In, Tune Out’ looks at the loss of innocence in adults and the carefree nature of children.

The idea behind ‘Toon In, Tune Out’ came from the piece Blair Zaye did for the ‘Memorabilia Charity Art Exhibition’ back in July 2013 entitled ‘A Time When Simpler Things Amused Me’ which was a child’s fleece Scooby Doo blanket with the text ‘A TIME WHEN SIMPLER THINGS AMUSED ME’ spray painted over it.

The title of the series ‘Toon In, Tune Out’ comes from a counterculture phrase popularized by Timothy Leary “Turn on, tune in, drop out”.

In his speech, Leary stated:

“Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity withain and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.”

“Transcript”. American Experience documentary on the Summer of Love. PBS and WGBH. 2007-03-14.

In ‘Toon In, Tune Out’ the problems that we face in ‘grown up’ life are described in the background of the paintings in layer upon layer of black and white text becoming like abstract television static. The text is then hidden behind a prominent abstract amalgamation of children’s cartoon characters.

The images are monochrome black and white 1. For the added value of abstraction in the background text and enables the ability to blend the cartoon images into a single conglomerate. 2. It creates a feeling of nostalgia reminiscent of black and white/monochrome or sepia photographs and television.

A testament to the simplicity of infantile life and childhood, before the ways, the woes and the noise of the world take hold with the mundane annoyances and distractions of the everyday in life such as grads, exam results, job pressure, money needed to sustain themselves and their family. The onus of life and the ramifications of becoming a decision making entity and part of society, the useless information that we pick up over the years. All of which lead to the eventual subversion of innocence.

The series ‘Toon In, Tune Out’ poses the questions –
What does innocence mean in this day and age?
Who’s responsibility is it?
Is it possible to maintain a child like mind free from worry and anxiety and the innocence of watching cartoons as a child?

Possibly through the mind numbing of the idiot box……