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Joyner, Eric

Eric Joyner enjoyed a rather uneventful childhood in the rather unremarkable town of San Mateo, California in the 1970s. Like many kids of that time, he enjoyed reading comics, playing sports, and making gunpowder … wait. Gunpowder? Oh, that’s right. This is the 1970s we’re talking about. Kids were doing all sorts of dangerous things back then, and nobody ever blinked an eye. 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.

And, as if guided by the unseen hand of an all-knowing consciousness (but probably not Jesus), at some point in his very young life, someone took Joyner to view an exhibition of Van Gogh’s paintings at the De Young museum in San Francisco. This experience greatly impressed the child, and he soon began taking painting lessons with his older sister. By the time he was in the first grade, classmates and teachers started to notice the compelling work he was creating, and the life of an artist began to take its shape. After high school ,Joyner attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Later, under the influential teaching of Francis Livingston, Kazuhiko Sano, Bill Sanchez, and Robert Hunt, his work greatly improved and he began to work professionally as an artist. For the next decade, Joyner was a hired-gun for various publishers, high-tech companies, and advertising agencies; he also was a digital animator and provided other artistic services for a variety of companies before rediscovering his original love of drawing and painting and returning to that medium.

The year 1999 was a big one for Joyner He began entering his paintings into various juried shows in the Bay Area and his efforts were well received. That inspired him to focus his paintings only on subjects he truly enjoyed painting–urban San Francisco landscapes, Mexican masks, cartoon characters, and Japanese toy robots. Eventually, the majority of his focus shifted to the robots, and he began to place them in settings more appropriate to their nature, namely outer space.

It wasn’t until 2002 that Joyner realized something was missing from his paintings, that his lusciously rendered protagonists might need something to contend with … perhaps a nemesis. Shortly thereafter, which watching the movie Pleasantville, in which Jeff Daniels’ character paints a still life of donuts, Joyner’s ultimate vision took shape. With thoughts of donut inventor Wayne Thiebald’s miraculous pastries always close at hand, it wasn’t difficult for Joyner to envision a battle scene of robots retreating from 300 foot-tall donuts. The rest, as they say, is history.

Selected Solo Shows:::

Yearly Solo Shows - Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City CA, 2008-2013

“Eric Joyner”- Trifecta Gallery, Las Vegas NV, 2009

“My other robot is a donut”- McCaig-Welles Gallery, New York NY, 2008

“Malfunction” - Shooting Gallery, San Francisco CA, 2007

“Spectrum” - Museum of American Illustration, New York NY, 2005

Selected Awards:::

Spectrum Contemporary Fantastic Art: 2003-2009

Merit Award, New York Society of Illustrators 46th annual show

Gold Medal & Judges Award, San Francisco Society of Illustrators


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