Adam Turman: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives
Adam Turman credit John Wallace.jpg
Photo by John Wallace
Number 80: Adam Turman
City: Minneapolis

Years spent living in MN: 25

There are many things undeniably Minnesotan about the print art, illustration, and design work of Adam Turman. His cityscapes feature iconic landmarks including the Grain Belt Beer sign, the Uptown Theater, and St. Anthony Main. His retro-yet-modern pinup girl posters exclaim things like "You Betcha" and Uff-dah" and are known to offer plates of hot dish and lefse, in addition to local beer. And though his work is used around the country, it's seen around here the most. Over the years Turman has created gig posters for events ranging from beer fests to rock shows to bike rides, and even a cover for City Pages. To gaze upon the work of Adam Turman is to catch a glimpse of Minnesota culture, spanning the gamut from foodies to hipsters to wholesome folks (and sometimes it's all of those things at once).  

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Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:

1. Cycling

2. Things I've been into since I was 5 years old

3. Minnesota pride

Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:

1. Fellow classmates

2. Pop culture

3. My heroes: Jim Henson, George Lucas

What was your last big project?

Rebuilding our house and relocating my studio. Not really an illustration project, but a large undertaking nonetheless. It has been super fun too. I moved the print studio from the garage to the basement. I've been figuring out how to make a pretty small space super efficient.

What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?

I'm staying busy with bunches of client work, but I'm trying to find time to do more art prints. The next shows will be in the spring, so be on the lookout for new stuff.

Also, there's a new book coming out called Graphic USA by Cicada Books. I was privileged to do the Minneapolis chapter. In it my favorite Minneapolis stuff and art will be showcased.

Creative/career high point (so far)?:

Doing a poster for AC/DC.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

Running the entire show by myself. Staying on top of everything. Staying original. Balancing work and life. This is all stuff you don't learn in school or even from someone else necessarily. For me, it has been a live and learn process. I've realized I can't do all the financial stuff by myself. I just don't think that way, so I always hire that out (love those Fox Tax people). Finding balance is very important, and not easy to do all the time.

How has the local scene changed since you began your career?

I'll say that I'm part of the local poster-making scene. However, I have been focusing more on event promotions and other types of client work. So for me, it's morphing. I'm still part of that scene by default, I but don't actually do as many gig posters. The poster scene has been morphing as well. New artists and designers are coming in. I've met and know some of them, but there are a ton that I've never met and don't have a clue about. They're doing fantastic work, too. That's really cool to see. Many of my friends who I've sort of grown up with in the scene have families now, they now own store fronts, and have established businesses. It seems like we're all growing up.

Favorite Minnesota landmark? Why?:

Grain Belt Beer sign. Duh.

Favorite event of the year? Why?:

When my wife and kids ride bikes together in the summertime. If you're looking for an organized event, one highlight was the Urban Assault Ride last summer.

Check out more of Adam Turman's artwork at his official website,

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Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.

Past creatives, so far:

100. Jennifer Davis
99. Sean Smuda
98. Chuck U
96. Amy Rice
95. Kara Hendershot

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I love that print with the two bikes and the type taken from landmarks. It might look nice on a t-shirt, *hint hint*


Yes! Great point An.

Fun fact: In the beer and bike image above, each letter used is from signage around town. For example, the "a" is from First Avenue. Have fun trying to guess them all!

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