by Andrew Arnett

San Fransisco based artist Eric Joyner, of Robots and Donuts fame, is presenting his new solo show – Machine Man Memories – on view at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles from March 7 – April 11, 2020. Joyner’s obsession with robots and donuts continues in this new series with paintings depicting surreal landscapes both alien and familiar. These metallic doppelgängers are not of the sinister types like the Terminator or Gunslinger (Westworld) but rather, the benign helpful robots you recognize from youth, like Robbie and collectable tin robots from  Japan. Instead of trying to kill you, they offer you donuts, celebrate Christmas and even cuddle with kitty cats.

‘Rounded Up’ by Eric Joyner

Consisting of 18 new paintings, the series has everything one has come to expect from Joyner’ work including, of course, robots, donuts, cats, as well as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snow Man, The Wizard of O’s and dragons. In addition, this show pays homage to British artist and photographer David Hockney with whimsical twists on some iconic paintings. Speaking of his latest inspirations, Joyner states:

“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.”

‘Portrait of the Artist’ by Eric Joyner

Depicting “the tenuous conflict between children’s toys and adulthood as a portrait of another reality,” Joyner’s work has often appeared on TV and in films including The Big Bang Theory, the HBO series Silicon Valley, and licensed by media companies Warner Brothers and Disney. His art was also featured on the album cover of Ben Folds Five The Sound of the Life of the Mind.

Joyner’s press release says:

“His work is characterized by a playful and surrealistic style that creates harmony between the mix of cartoon characters, especially Japanese tin robots and colorful donuts (directly inspired by the film Pleasantville) inserted in all kinds of landscapes from the Age of Dinosaurs to the bottom of the ocean.”

Eric Joyner

Eric Joyner was born in San Mateo, California, outside of San Fransisco. His early artist influences include comic strips, Mad, Eerie, and Creepy magazine. Later, he became fascinated with De Young’s Van Gogh exhibit in San Fransisco. He studied at the Academy of Art and the University of San Fransisco. After school, Joyner became a commercial artist for Mattel Toys, Microsoft, Levis and Showtime. He is a member of the San Francisco Society of Illustrators and New York Society of Illustrators and lectures at the San Francisco’s Academy of Art University and California College of the Arts. His work has been shown in numerous galleries and featured at the San Jose Museum of Art’s exhibition ‘Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon.’

Joyner’s creative process begins with envisioning a unique visual concept, followed by research, photographs, and sketches of tin toys. Joyner uses a baltic birch canvas and paints it with gesso after which he transfers the drawing. Painting with oils as his main medium, he starts with an acrylic underpainting.

Machine Man Memories opens Saturday, March 7th from 7:00pm-11:00pm in the Main Gallery, alongside a solo show from Adrian Cox, entitled Into the Spirit Garden, in Gallery 2 and a solo show from Kelsey Beckett, entitled The Amber Orchard, in Gallery 3.

‘The Red Envelope’ by Eric Joyner
‘The Wizard of O’s’ by Eric Joyner
‘Midnight Stroll’ by Eric Joyner

Earlier works by Eric Joyner:

Eric Joyner – Movers and Shakers, 2015
Eric Joyner – Perfect Family, 2007
Eric Joyner – Tiki-bot, 2015


March 7, 2020 | 7pm – 11pm

March 7 – April 11, 2020

571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 12pm – 6pm
(310) 287-2340



Eric Joyner