Adam Turman’s bold, colorful murals can be spotted across the Twin Cities, in breweries, hotels and community centers.
But when an exhibit of his Minnesota-centric prints opens today at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, it will be a first for this rising-star illustrator in one sense: It will be his first exhibit in a museum where his work will be shown alongside such greats as Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh.
“They have all the classics that I studied in school. I get to hang with these guys,” Turman said almost gleefully. “I’ll take it.”
Talk to Turman or view his work, and you quickly learn his main passions: Minnesota outdoors, bicycling and beer. All have intersected with his work as an illustrator and muralist.
An interesting factoid: Turman’s art was part of the campaign to pass the so-called Surly Bill in 2011. The legislation allowed licensed brewers to sell pints of beer in taprooms, leading to a blossoming of breweries across the state. His illustration was featured in ad campaigns pushing for the passing of the bill.
507: What attracted you to doing this show?
Turman: I felt like this was a good opportunity. The place is really high quality. It’s a beautiful location. I felt that my art would look amazing there. I thought it was great that it’s not necessarily like a sales-type of art gallery show. It’s a showcase. We’re not trying to sell the artwork necessarily.
507: Your work is featured in a lot of places in the Twin Cities. How do you feel when you pass it?
Turman: I really do enjoy going by the work. I especially enjoy it when I see other people enjoying it. That’s what makes me happy: Doing art that makes other people happy and enjoying it and wanting to be around it.
One thing that’s kind of funny: Sometimes, I’ll go by a piece of art and just want to make sure there’s no graffiti on it, that it’s still in good shape. But then again, that’s how the work deteriorates, too. I’d love to think my murals, especially the outdoor ones, are completely permanent, but weather and time will kind of beat them up.
507: I understand you like to bowl and bike in the communities where you’re working or putting on exhibitions.
Turman: On past projects, I’ve brought my bike or bowling ball. I’m not good at bowling. I’m terrible. I’m on a fun little team. We call ourselves, “Nines,” because we can never get a strike. Our tagline is, “we’re just trying to break a hundred.” We suck but we have fun.
507: Are you satisfied where you are artistically and professionally?
Turman: I feel like I need to keep growing. Am I satisfied? Yeah, I’m very happy with where I am in my career and where it’s taken off, but I believe that I need to continue to stay relevant and advance my style and be up on trends and all that.
507: What advice would you give young artists and muralists?
Turman: They have to have a passion for it. You really have to own it. There’s an Andy Warhol quote that says, “Good business is the best art.” It’s such a great quote. When people think of artists, they think of starving artists. I wish that wasn’t the case. I would love that to be different. You never hear people say, “You’re a capital investor and you’re doing OK?”