Wed, Oct 25th, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
American Swedish Institute, Nelson Cultural Center, Larson Hall
2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis MN 55407

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Join Eric Madsen, an AIGA Fellow and 50-year veteran of the Minneapolis design community, for a social gathering to mark the pandemic-delayed release of his new, self-published book, Carlyle’s Tools: A Tribute in Graphite and Watercolor.

Free and open to the chapter, the event will bring together friends and design colleagues to celebrate Madsen’s book of photorealistic fine art which bookends his passion project study of old tools.

Co-sponsored by ENPOINTE marketing and printing along with Sappi papers, each of which played key roles in the book, the event will spotlight Madsen’s self-published book and is designed to be purely social. “I’m hopeful this will be a reunion of friends old and new from a wide span of our chapter’s history,” he said.

Cash bar with light appetizers and desserts served. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. No pre-registration is required.

Close up details of a well-used wood chisel

The cover of Carlyle's Tools featuring a pair of slip-joint pliers

Collaborating co-sponsors:
Enpointe logo Sappi logo

About Eric Madsen and Carlyle’s Tools

Eric Madsen arrived in Minneapolis in 1973, leaving behind a promising career trajectory with a leading design studio in Houston, Texas. “Our Minnesota creative community just exploded with talent in the 70s and it’s never stopped,” Madsen said. “I was fortunate to arrive when I did and to play a small part in its growth.”

“Our Minnesota creative community just exploded with talent.”

His characteristic humility aside, Madsen deeply understates his role in Minnesota design. In 1976 he was one of the founding members of the Minnesota Graphic Designers Association (MGDA), a group of professional colleagues who connected for social and professional support. MGDA became the first chapter of AIGA, then called the American Institute of Graphic Arts, in 1987, and cast the mold for future chapters nationwide, now 74 in total.

Always willing to stand up and serve, he has held positions on the AIGA Minnesota Board of Directors on three separate occasions, served on the national AIGA board, and chaired three years of the AIGA 50 Books 50 Covers competition. In 2010, Madsen was named an AIGA Fellow—a program that recognizes designers who have made significant contributions to their local design community.

“Over the course of that year, I rediscovered my love of real drawing beyond filling sketch books.”

Madsen founded The Office of Eric Madsen in Minneapolis in 1991, a firm whose work has been recognized nationally and internationally. When he ultimately closed the office, the reality of exiting professional, client-based design hit him unexpectedly hard. “I retreated to my studio at the family cabin for a full year afterward,” he said. “Over the course of that year, I rediscovered my love of real drawing beyond filling sketch books.”

“Even when the ‘design game’ is over, ‘designing’ doesn’t have to be.”

In time, his drawing efforts focused on what he calls the “Tool Series,” inspired by the well-worn hand tools left behind by his late father-in-law, Carlyle. “I found that even when the ‘design game’ is over, ‘designing’ doesn’t have to be,” he said. “Focusing on passion projects, like this book, gave me a way to carry forward skills I learned practicing professionally. Every designer has passion projects in them. I just had to retire before I could make time for it.”