This week we are fortunate enough to have Eric Joyner for Robot Envy’s Artist Spotlight!
Eric Joyner is a freelance illustrator that graduated from The Academy of Art in San Francisco. He’s worked professionally for the past 20 years on a variety projects such as Mindscape, Spunky Productions, Electronic Arts, and many others. Eric’s work has been exhibited in countless galleries throughout the country. He has also earned a variety of notable awards such as, Spectrum Comtemporary Fantastic Art 2003-2009, American Illustration 24th annual, New York Society of Illustrators 46th annual show Merit Award and numerous others.
1. When did you get interested in illustration and art?
I think I was about 5 when I started drawing…In the 4th grade one of my paintings was exhibited at the Oakland museum…I think it went on a statewide tour, with a bunch of other kids work. This gave me a warm & fuzzy feeling. However, the 3 middle school years were wasted goofing off. As the years went by, I started going to museums & painting…When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to go to art school & that’s where I learned about illustration & many more artists besides Rockwell, Picasso & Van Gogh. I went to the Academy of Art in San Francisco. You don’t really need to go to art school to be an artist, & the costs are very prohibitive now. But I did make some friends & did a lot of drawing & I suppose I learned something. I paid for art school by saving money in high school (working in a sawmill) & got into the work/study program for a few years wherein I did janitorial work for free tuition. The department head kicked me out of the program though – claiming I wasn’t doing my chores & needed to spend more time on my art.
2. What are your biggest inspirations, both style and artist wise?
I like realism & post impressionism. I always liked Rockwell, Frazetta, N.C. Wyeth, J.C. Lyendecker, Dean Cornwell Degas, Monet & Van Gogh. Impressionism because of the looseness of the bold paint strokes & liberal colors. I don’t much like many of the dark portraits & religious art before 1830 or so, though Rembrandt was really great. I like realism when the skill is high and combined with a narrative, good mood, and atmosphere. Surrealism is cool too when combined with pop culture in an interesting way, especially if I get an emotional response of some sort.
3. What were some of your favorite projects to work on in your career?
I did a project for Iams Pet food – 8 paintings of dogs & cats. That was fun. Also, I did 15 paintings for bank from North Carolina that was fun & once a big painting for DuPont. The DuPont painting was 60″x 48″ – they made it into a jigsaw puzzle for a convention…as each attendee came in, they each got one piece & tried to put it together during the meeting.
4. Does your cultural background affect the style of your work?
Yes, I think so..I only paint things I like, like robots and donuts. They have always been a part of my life….for entertainment & sustenance.
5. How do you keep the creative juices going?
I keep the juices moist by introducing more (new) things to my art, slowly, over time. Things like Ravens, old motorcycles, flowers, trees, cupcakes, bakeries, big Japanese monsters, noir film mood & elephants. It’s a challenge to make it all work. I like challenges. Another good thing to do is to go on vacation & experience a different part of the world. or get out in nature. I guess that works for me since I live in a city. The ocean works too, but probably the beat thing is reading up on the artists of yesteryear & seeing their work in museums.
6. What’s one of your favorite movies?
Blade Runner, Forbidden Planet, The War of the Worlds & more.
7. Describe a typical day for you?
Exercising, watching TV, painting, eating & listening to music.
8. Any words of advice for aspiring artists?
Learn how to draw & use perspective, draw from live models, read art books, go to museums & gallery shows. Think about expressing your ideas & be true to yourself.