By Jalyn Mayer, February 23, 2020
The work of San Francisco-based artist Eric Joyner is coming to Downtown Los Angeles. Machine Man Memories, the newest series of fantastical paintings by Joyner, will open on March 7th, 2020 in the esteemed Corey Helford Gallery.
Before the name Eric Joyner became synonymous with robots and donuts, Joyner worked in advertising. The Academy of Art in San Francisco graduate was a part of the San Francisco Society of Illustrators (SFSI) and worked for clients like Mattel Toys, Levi’s, and Microsoft. This was something Joyner was particularly talented in, winning two gold medals at the 1989 SFSI annual show.
During the early 1990s, Joyner began taking on animation work, but it soon proved to be quite a challenging task. The now-60-year-old artist even referred to this period of his life as “3 months of torture”. This was the push Joyner needed to leave advertising and start creating his own artwork.
“After years of painting other people’s pictures, I made the decision to only paint things that I liked.” - Eric Joyner
San Francisco urbanscapes, paintings of old newspaper cartoon characters, Mexican masks, and Japanese toy robots now became the subjects of Joyner’s work. In 2002, donuts were added to the rotation, inspired by the movie Pleasantville. He has been painting “only things that he likes” ever since.
Joyner’s unique pieces are highly desirable. George Lucas is a noted fan, and his work has been seen in popular series such as The Big Bang Theory and Silicon Valley. He creates about twenty paintings a year, selling them from anywhere from $3,000 to $75,000 for each piece. His work is also featured in two books: Robots and Donuts as well as Robotic Existentialism: The Art of Eric Joyner.
Consisting of about 18 new oil paintings, Joyner’s Machine Man Memories is filled with robots, donuts, and cats. He has created an homage to a living artist, David Hockney and decided to bring to life some non-robotic figures such as Frosty the Snow Man, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Wizard of O’s, and a dragon to his surreal body of work.
“The first paintings were inspired by people I met, some locally and some from new friends in China. I later found inspiration in American illustrators such as N.C. Wyeth, Michael Whelan and the brothers Hildebrandt as well as fine artists Grant Wood and David Hockney. I was distracted by the 1953 movie War of the Worlds and one night I dreamt a white cat came to me and whispered in my ear to paint snowmen. As fate would have it, my friend Lou Lima brought me some snowmen figures to paint. The rest, as they say, is history.” - Eric Joyner on Machine Man Memories