Eric Joyner

From The Eclectix Interview

Eric is a local San Francisco artist with a groovy penchant for donuts and robots flavored with a dash of Magritte symbolism. He grew up in the Bay Area and pursued his schooling here as well.

Joyner’s mother was a Methodist who would bribe her young son with donuts to go to Sunday school. His father, an atheist, said mean stuff about Jesus behind his wife’s back. Despite their differences of opinion on God, the Joyners built a loving home for their children and nobody grew up to be too weird.

Eric is a sometimes-shy, sometimes-not, kinda guy with a satirical, dry wit, painting wonderfully engaging landscapes. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he kind of looks like Captain Kirk. He showed with Eclectix a few times, back in the day, and his works always carried us away, to a comic-book-land of greenery and space-age nostalgia.

My favorite art memory from my childhood is… It was in the 3rd or 4th grade when my work was chosen for a traveling art show with some other kids. I had copied a Picasso painting of a cowboy type guy from National Geographic. That was pretty exciting for a kid whose greatest achievement up to that point was probably my ability to sit in trees eating sunflower seeds with my friends.

My interest in art/painting started… I was drawing since kindergarten. I started to get very serious about it in high school.

I am often inspired and motivated by… Nature, donuts, science, machines, trees and philosophy.

A question you have been asked before I am sure, but we need to ask for the record – Why donuts? What do they symbolize to you? Upon deciding to become a gallery artist, I had to make some rules, or guidelines. They were as follows: 1 - I will only paint things I like, 2 - The subject(s) had to be something that I could paint for 30 years, and 3 - That people like it. Donuts & robots together make no sense. I find this interesting.

If I could spend the day with any artist (dead or alive) it would be…Vincent Van Gogh. And we would…  paint some French landscapes. We would refrain from cosmetic surgery.

The tip or art technique (a specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise) that has helped me the most is…  That would have to be getting a good understanding of perspective and also, switching from acrylics to oil. Oils dry slower than acrylics and I think oils are more organic.

If I could own one piece of art, out of the world’s collections, it would be… Most any Van Gogh painting, N.C. Wyeth or F. Frazetta painting.

My ultimate project or fantasy is… To have an art show at the MET in New York.

The last song I choose to listen to was… Moonlight Mile by the Rolling Stones.

The last book I couldn’t put down was… George Orwell’s ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’.

My favorite word is… Yes.

I can’t live without … Music.

It’s not hip, but I really love… Old literature.

My favorite motto (or quote) is… Still waters run deep.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? San Francisco!!

And by journalist Carolyn Kellogg for the LA Times

Maybe you already know Eric Joyner's work; lots of people do. The folks at Spectrum Fantastic Art have given him awards; the San Francisco Chronicle has hired him; he's collected by technology executives and actor Andy Richter. But I came to him only after picking up "Robots & Donuts: The Art of Eric Joyner" from Dark Horse Books.

Joyner's robots are often travelers, sometimes through space, sometimes through time, sometimes through discontinuously pastoral landscapes. Modeled, mostly, on old toys from Japan, 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 rest. But often they do battle -- with each other and with classic sci-fi monsters. And with donuts.

"Glazed" (after the jump) was the first painting in which Joyner pitted donuts against robots. 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 simple delicious objects of desire. Does it make sense? Not in our the real world. But in Joyner's it does.

Joyner's notes in the book reveal that he's unlike the stereotype of an artist driven by a singular vision. His boxing series, based on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, is just one that was prompted by a fan's suggestion. In "The Blow," Joyner played off the 1924 "Dempsey and Firpo" painting by George Bellows, replacing the sweaty men with matching competitors of blue and red plastic.

Joyner's openness to suggestion extends to a full-scale embrace of democratic distribution. While I'd love to own one of his paintings, they now run in the thousands. I might, perhaps, be able to get one of his high-end limited edition prints or large-scale vinyl murals -- you can get "Glazed" for your wall in a minimum size of 4 feet high by 6 feet wide -- for a couple hundred dollars. More my speed, though, is this book, or a 2009 calendar with new work, or a Cafe Press mug or magnet, some of which are less than five bucks.

With the original inspiration for his work being mass-produced toys, it makes sense that Joyner's art is available on a mass scale too.


2010 - U.S.F. Law School San Francisco, Jan. – May

2009 Trifecta Gallery, solo show, Las Vegas, Nov.

2009 - Alternative Café, ‘Click Click, Bang’ Seaside, CA July

2009 - Alternative Café, Group show, ‘Gasoline & Garters’ Seaside, CA July

2009 - Eclectix Gallery, Group show, ‘This Town’ El Cerrito, CA July

2009 - The Miller Gallery, Blast off, 3 person show Cincinnati OH, June

2008 - McCaig Wells, Solo show, ‘My other robot is a donut, Oct.

2008 - Eclectix Gallery, Halloween group show, El Cerrito, CA Oct.

2008 - Corey Helford Gallery Solo show, ‘Artificial Enlightenment’ Culver City, CA Sept.

2008 - Alternative Café, grand opening Seaside, CA June

2007 - Trifecta Gallery, A Twist of Fate, Las Vegas, Nov.

2007 - Shooting Gallery solo show ‘Malfunction’ San Francisco

2006 - Corey Helford Gallery Culver city, CA Dec.

2006 - 111 Minna Gallery, ‘Utopia’ a group show, San Francisco, CA Nov.

2006 - The Shooting Gallery ‘Tangle in Tin World’, solo exhibit. San Francisco, CA, August – September

2006 - Mmodern Gallery, ‘Fractal Tolerance’, Palm Springs, CA, May – June.

2006 - The Shooting Gallery, Portrait show, group exhibit, San Francisco, CA, January – February.

2006 - The Compound, group exhibit, Portland, OR, January – February.

2006 - The Outer Edge Studio, ‘Power VS. Force’ with Shawn Barber, Monterey, CA, November – January.

2005 - Museum of American Illustration, ‘Spectrum’ group exhibit, New York, NY, April – May.

2005 - Echo Gallery, ‘March to the beat of your own Drum’ exhibit, Chicago, IL. April – May.

2005 - Mmodern Gallery, ‘War of the Worlds’ Palm Springs, CA., April – May.

2005 - La La Land, ‘Art in the Dark’ Group show. Santa Monica, CA., April – May.

2005 - La Luz de Jesus 8th annual Group show, Hollywood, CA., March – April.

2005 - The Shooting Gallery, ‘Cine Delirio’ 4 man show. San Francisco, CA., March – April.

2004/2005 - La La Land, ‘Happy War’ Group Exhibit. Santa Monica, CA., Oct. – January.

2004 - Mmodern Gallery, ‘Rat Pack’ Group exhibit Palm Springs, CA., Nov. – Jan.

2004 - Mmodern Gallery, ‘Things with Wings’ Group exhibit. Palm Springs, CA., Oct. – Dec.

2004 - Mike Lo-Fi Customs, ‘Submerge’ Group show, San Francisco, CA., November.

2004 City of Brea Gallery, ‘Contemporary Culture’ Brea, CA., July – September.

2004 - The Shooting Gallery, ‘The Erotic Show’ San Francisco, CA., June.

2004 - The Shooting Gallery, ‘Tokyo Monster Show’ San Francisco, CA., May.

2004 - Museum of American Illustration 46 show, New York, NY April.

2004 - La Luz de Jesus 7th annual Group show, Hollywood, CA., March.

2004 - Mikes Lo-Fi Customs, San Francisco, CA., Feb-March.

2003 - The Garden Gallery, Grand Opening of new space group show, Half Moon Bay CA. December.

2003 - The Varnish Gallery, “The Creep Show”, San Francisco CA., November.

2003 - “Lo-Fi Sci-Fi” at Lo-Fi Customs, San Francisco CA., November.

2003 - One man show “Tin Conspiracy” at SPACE, Portland ME. October.

2003 - La Luz de Jesus, ‘Hot August Heat’ 4 person show, Hollywood CA., August.

2003 - Museum of American Illustration show, New York, NY April.

2003 - Cannonball Fine art, San Anselmo, CA March – April

2003 - La Luz de Jesus 6th annual show, Hollywood, CA., March.

2003 - Mikes Lo-Fi Customs, San Francisco, CA., Feb-March.

2003 - Artisans Gallery, Mill Valley, CA, January – February.

2002 - 111 Minna Street Gallery, San Francisco, CA., Oct.

2001-present -The Garden Gallery in Half Moon Bay.

2001 - Blanc & Otus in San Francisco (fall)

Participated in San Francisco Open Studios in 2002.

Exhibited in the juried show, “Sport and Classic Cars” June

2000 & 2001 at the Artisans Gallery, Mill Valley, CA.

Exhibited in the juried show “wings” October 1999 at Artisans Gallery in Mill Valley, CA.

Exhibited In the juried group show “Sport and Classic Cars” June 1999 at the Artisans Gallery, in Mill Valley, CA.

United States Air Force Exhibitions, 1985-87, 2000.


Spectrum contemporary Fantastic Art 2003 – 2009 Cover, Spectrum 11.

Merit award, New York Society of Illustrators 46th annual show.

Gold Medal unpublished category, Spectrum Ten. 2003.

Gold Medal ‘Humor” show, at Artisans, Mill Valley, CA., Feb. 2003.

American Illustration 24 annual. Honorable Mention, New York Society of Illustrators 45th annual Show.

Merit award, “Sport and Classic Cars” June 2000 & 2001 at the Artisans Gallery, Mill Valley, CA.

Merit award, Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, 1991.

Gold Medal, San Francisco Society of Illustrators, 1989.

Judges award, San Francisco Society of Illustrators, 1989.



Spunky Productions

Midland Productions

Del Monte

Electronic Arts

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich


Macmillan- McGraw-Hill


Mattel Toys

Warner Brothers

Random House




CBS Marketwatch


U.S. West


Glen Ellen

Saturn L series



Little Kids

SpiritLed Woman

Vibrant Life


Iams Pet Food

BMG Music

E Server Magazine

TCBM Magazine

Roland Corp.

San Francisco Chronicle

Cisco Systems

among others...