"A space intervened by donuts and robots"
by Yanina Fuggetta

Green fluffy hills where tall trees grow, the sunset caresses his calm face which is looking at a lost point in a clear sky. Then the scene changes, he is submerged in a large lake playing with a ball. Minutes later, he takes a peaceful walk through the countryside with his son (we suppose).

He is also immersed in a war, threatened by monsters and gigantic dinosaurs. He struggles; he defends himself, in a possibly a-historical and apocalyptic time.

A particular element is often accompanying him; gummy colorful circles, apparently sweet: huge donuts. The anonymous characters are not human but robots, the Japanese Tin Robots.

Eric Joyner (48) is an artist who lives in San Francisco, California. His curriculum vitae shows dozens of works, exhibitions in various American art galleries, lots of awards and a book edited by Dark Horse. At the very beginning he was a freelance illustrator who worked for big firms.

He still remembers his first steps, “My first steps were like a blind man walking in a marshy field filled with barbed wire. But I slowly got my vision, & after a lot of hard work was able to see my path. I was painting a variety of things without much success before developing robots & donuts”.

- How did TinToy and donuts get to star your works?

- I had been collecting tin robots and space ships for some time and when the time came for me to change careers and become an artist, they seemed like a natural choice for me to use as subject matter. I soon got bored though, and by 2000 or 2001 I started thinking about how I could better express the absurdity and hopelessness I was feeling for everything. I got the idea to use donuts when I saw Jeff Daniels painting a pile of donuts in the movie ‘Pleasantville’. Also, I made the decision to only paint things I like.

- We quite imagine you have a large collection of them!
- It’s all relative…I may have 40…but I know someone who has 4500!

Have Tin robots been a way of escape from the typical commercial illustration?

- Yes, and a way of expressing myself. I always got horrible illustration assignments, so it wouldn’t take much to improve on the situation.

- Chaos and an apocalyptical way of seeing life through is kind of a trademark in your work…
- Yes, I feel it’s my duty to prepare today's youth for a time, in the not too distant future, when the terrors and tortures that were etched on clay tablets eons ago, predicting the chaos and the fever-dreams of the other gods, becomes a reality.

- You manage a pretty complicated technique like oil painting, which needs a great deal of precision, How did you make such choice?
- Well, the way I see it, it’s just basic oil painting. I went to art school and while there, I discovered the painters from 100 years ago like N.C. Wyeth, Dean Cornwell, Van Gogh, J.C. Lyendecker and I really felt a connection with their work. So, these are the people I’ve emulated..(Surely, I must have left a few names out).

- I might be wrong, but robots in your paintings look like as if they are about to humanize themselves. Was that effect intencional?
- At first I was just painting them as still-lifes and other simple scenes, but I got bored and it slowly evolved over time to what we see today. I can’t help it...I had to give them human traits and personalities. The donuts came along later.

- Who do you admire? We noticed Warhol and Mohamed Ali in some of your works…
- I do admire people like Warhol & Ali, as well as scientists like Hawking & Einstein, actors like Newman, Eastwood & De Niro.

- Where are you living at the moment? Where is your workplace?
- I live in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. I have a condominium for a home, and my art studio is 25 minutes away by streetcar.

My art studio is about 600 square feet in an old office building that was built in 1925. One of my favourite artists, Maynard Dixon had an art studio on my street from 1900 to 1912.

At the moment Eric is presenting a group show in Austin, Texas, from March 14 to March 28. Then he will be presenting his work at, After that, a one-man play will be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio at Next, a smoke themed exhibition is organised to take place at, and finally he will expose a show in Las Vegas in November at