WHAT THIS AUTHOR BRINGS TO THE SUBJECT MATTER
Eric S. Townsend brings a unique sensitivity to the study of Prince’s life and accomplishments. By design, you can go straight from this book to watching the movie classic Purple Rain or reading Alan Light’s exceptional book, Let’s Go Crazy. Gain a new appreciation for what that landmark project was really about.
Like Prince, Eric S. Townsend grows up in a disjointed family. His father fights in the Vietnam War and comes home a different man. His parents divorce when Eric is less than a year old. He’s raised by his mother (an educator) and his grandmother (a retired machinist). Like Prince, he lives in a basement for his formative years.
Prince and Eric belong to an exclusive club. Both train to become multi-instrumentalists who write, arrange, compose, produce, perform, and record entire albums of music. Both fail miserably on the same instrument (saxophone). Each comes to value independence and self publishing. Both leverage crowdfunding to launch projects. Both win a Webby (award). Both give time and money to early childhood education and the AIDS fight.
Today, Townsend lives in Fairfax VA with his wife Gwen, their bullmastiff Marlowe, and their two snakes, Libby and Terrence. He writes small books (20+ since 2012). Tabula Raisa, his adventure series for children ages 6+, is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign (2016).
Learn more at the author’s writing portfolio.
Eric S. Townsend grew up in an Italian household. His grandmother was the matriarch who brought the family from Dragoni (via the port of Naples) to the United States (via Ellis Island) circa World War I.
Eric S. Townsend learned to crawl and draw at the same time. His first scribble was a rabbit. His mother regularly drove him to the Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium in New York where his imagination ran wild. He drew animals and gazed upon star shows for hours. At Lyncrest Elementary School (Fair Lawn NJ), he wrote a lengthy poem on the fall of Pompeii (Italy) and published haiku in the local newspaper. His first exposure to technology was building robots in the school’s Gifted & Talented (G&T) program.
Townsend earned his first dollar in advertising as a student at the University of Richmond (1992). He designed music packaging for local groups. During a rare snowstorm, when he was prepared to present to his sculpture class, he instead walked the class to a nearby field where his band performed. The band again joined him in a Japanese art and culture class to perform a musical reworking of a beloved renga poem. Townsend was a regular contributor to The Messenger, a Richmond-based literary magazine. One of his short stories (Torn) was runner-up for the Margaret Owen Finck Award for Creative Writing. He was mentored by Dr. Steven Addiss, who was a pupil of John Cage, who was guided by Marcel Duchamp. Townsend’s background in visual art, music composition, and writing hits all the notes of that lineage.
Townsend’s agency career began at Landslide Creative Services (1994). A former classmate saw his potential and offered an internship-to-hire arrangement. He then contributed at a division of The Martin Agency (Richmond VA), Zinc Agency (Washington DC), SQN Branding, Billy Casper Golf (Tysons Corner VA), SplashKit, ESTMKTG, and now Glimpse Digital (parent company of Go Booklets, Fairfax VA).
Townsend has provided marketing services to more than 400 brands over the last 25 years. This has included members of the Dow 30, Fortune 100/500, startups and challengers. Here are 20 household names you’ll recognize: Pfizer, Navy Federal Credit Union, First National Bank, Absolut Vodka, Universal Music Group, Sotheby’s, Mitsubishi, Saab, Skanska, Cort Furniture, Leo A Daly Architects, American Institute of Architects, American Red Cross, Goodwill, Catholic Charities, B’nai B’rith, National Rifle Association, University of Richmond, University of North Carolina, Rutgers University and James Madison University. Nearly all of these organizations were founded 75 to 275 years ago.
Townsend has always been driven by doing things better. His modifications to a line of beanbag chairs for Gold Medal Products (Richmond VA) directly lead to today’s loungers for gamers. He transformed a bulky annual report for Pact International (Washington DC) into a menu you could unfold and read in minutes. To challenge architects, he once portrayed Washington DC as a plain ice cube tray (turned upside down) on the cover of the American Institute of Architects’ monthly magazine. He was an early adopter (and later opponent) of Flash technology on websites. He has contributed meaningfully to the epublishing revolution.
Townsend’s first children’s book series (Tabula Raisa) was successfully funded on Kickstarter for $12,879 in 2015. It was recognized as a Staff Pick, tagged “New & Interesting” and was showcased on the home page of their website (#1 among 418 live publishing projects). The Staff Pick program was initiated by the crowdfunding platform in 2009. It recognizes particularly compelling, fun, creative, and exciting new ideas with well-priced rewards and a great story. The Showcase program features one project on their home and product category pages until deemed unseated. Tabula Raisa was registered as a trademark through the U.S. Patent and Trade Office in 2017. There are now 9 books in the series plus multicultural dolls, learning games and handmade crafts for sale at the Tabula Raisa website.
Townsend has been a leadership mentor in the Everwise program since early 2013. The organization connects early and mid-career professionals with the influencers and insights that help them advance as senior professionals, managers, executives and founders. He has guided high-potential protégés to develop their leadership acumen and make the most of their capabilities. Protégés have included a national online organizer for Sierra Club Outdoors (UAW Local 2103), a senior marketing manager at Lyft, and a product manager at LiveRamp — all in San Francisco, a chief marketing officer at FOMO Media in Portland OR, a senior product designer at Twitter in Boston, and the founder of Dave Arcade in Midvale UT.
Townsend’s most recent publication is the episodal sketchbook Paisley Prince (2019), which explores the childhood development and early career of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Prince Rogers Nelson. He is prepping three projects as his next releases. Bubbling Up: the Art of Blythe King is a monograph of a dear friend and Richmond VA visual artist/activist. The Sun Hangs Low and Enzwell both feature poetry and creative writing inspired by the author’s favorite destination: Iceland. These will support an ongoing series called Poems Across Iceland. Preview these projects and others toward the bottom of the author’s writing portfolio at Carbonmade.