He's one of Minnesota's most prolific artists, and unapologetically commercial. Adam Turman on licensing deals, AI, and finding balance between creativity and commerce.
Wednesday August 23, 2023
Adam Turman is one of Minnesota’s most prolific working artists today, known for capturing state icons like Paul Bunyon and the Stone Arch Bridge in vibrant illustrations.
He’s also unapologetically commercial, selling his drawings on giftware, apparel, prints, and murals seen around town from Surly Brewing to his latest, and largest, yet: a 220 foot by 40 foot scene on the side of a parking ramp for the new Corsa Apartments in St. Louis Park.
He’s managed to do what most artists only dream of: pursue the creative projects that fuel him, and turn it into a successful business that includes licensing deals, custom projects, brand work, and art prints.
“I’ve always really liked having a reason to make the art I make,” says Turman, who started his career as a graphic designer for creative agencies before founding Adam Turman Artwork Co. “I’m just trying to make things people really enjoy.”
Turman offers a peek behind the canvas and into his company, from licensing deals to corporate collaborations, and how he’s embracing AI.
For broader perspective, we go Back to the Classroom with Shinwon Noh, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. "Often, we believe arts and commerce are conflicting concepts, that you're bound to sacrifice one to achieve success in the other. That's not true," Noh says. "Find a sweet spot between what you want to do and what your audience wants to see. Art is a passion-driven career. Self-awareness is a must."