Eric Joyner's Vintage Robots Travel to Thailand in Paintings at Corey Helford
Eric Joyner is known for robots, the tin toy variety that appeared in the U.S. during the mid-20th century and pointed to a future that may now seem quaint. He hasn't kept track of how many of these toys he owns, saying his collection is somewhere between "50 and 100" pieces. Some are the actual vintage objects found at flea markets and collector's events. Others are reissues that look "pretty much identical" to the originals, but cost quite a bit less.
Eric Joyner Catfish
"They're blocky and basic. They usually have big eyes," says Joyner of the collectibles. "It takes imagination to make them come alive."
The robots are often the models for Joyner's whimsical paintings.
"They're stiff," says the San Francisco-based artist over the phone. "They don't really move at all, so I have to breathe life into them, make them do things that they can't really do."
Eric Joyner All Wrapped Up
For the past decade, Joyner, a commercial illustrator-turned-fine artist, has placed vintage looking robots amidst cherry blossoms and in police line-ups. One even popped up in a garden filled with Sanrio characters for the company's 50th anniversary show. He earned a lot of press in recent years for pairing the robots with donuts in his paintings, as featured in the Dark Horse book, Robots & Donuts: The Art of Eric Joyner.
For his latest show, "It's a Jungle Out There," opening at Corey Helford Gallery on Jan. 21, Joyner's robots find themselves in Thailand. The collection is a continuation of Joyner's Robots & Donuts work. In some of the pieces, you can find the sweet treats mingling with automatons against the brightly hued settings.