LA Times writer, Carolyn Kellogg says of Joyner’s work: “Joyner’s robots have an out-of-time quality, a vintage vision of a future that will never come to pass. They are rendered with visible brush strokes, transforming them from stamped tin to something more organic. The robots are sometimes at peace but often they do battle — with each other and with classic sci-fi monsters. And with donuts. The donuts are enormous, rolling in like tanks, robots stuck helplessly in the glaze. In other paintings, the donuts are flying saucers or wield lasers. But donuts aren’t always adversarial — they can also be simply delicious objects of desire. Does it make sense? Not in the real world. But in Joyner’s it does.”
Joyner first began painting robots in earnest in 2000. “In an attempt to bring the vintage tin robots to life without losing their charm, I showed them where they belonged: outer space. Eventually I felt the toys needed something to play off of–perhaps a nemesis. After a month or so of searching for a ‘nemesis’, I had an epiphany while watching the movie Pleasantville. In one of the scenes, Jeff Daniels paints a still life — of donuts. With thoughts of Wayne Thiebaud’s pastries close at hand, it wasn’t difficult to see the battle scene of robots retreating from 300-foot tall donuts when I went to bed that night. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Joyner has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions, including the Museum of American Illustration’s “Spectrum” show, featuring the best work published in the Spectrum Annual since its inception in1994.
The artist has also played a key role in the development of various computer game visuals and a 3-D short film, Robots from Mars, as well as creating background environments for various Flash animations. Though Eric is a member of The New York Society of Illustrators, his more recent fine art has developed a cult-like following and can be found in collections worldwide.
Joyner and his paintings recently crossed over into the real world of Hollywood when the artist played a cameo role as an executive of a donut manufacturing company being pitched a marketing idea (the robot and donut paintings) by an ad agency. The movie will be released in 2011.
Joyner counts the mega-stars of Hollywood, the geniuses of Silicone Valley and the brightest talents of television among his biggest fans and collectors.
A book on his work, Robots & Donuts: the Art of Eric Joyner, was released late 2009 By Dark Horse Books.