Getting laid off was one of the worst things that ever happened to Adam Turman. And one of the best.

Losing his graphic design job hurt. But it also gave Turman, 34, the opportunity to flourish as a popular illustrator and screen printer.

"That's why getting laid off was kind of a cool thing," Turman says. "I started doing a little more searching about for what I really wanted to do."

In addition to pinup-style gig and event posters, Turman produces cityscapes, art prints and commissioned work. He also has a growing company selling his works at art shows and through his website ( The site lists local shops that sell his prints.

Always the kid who could draw, Turman first made money at it selling T-shirts he designed to Edina High School classmates. He got a graphic design degree from the University of Minnesota and worked, mostly on computers, for a couple agencies.

He got back to hand drawing after his 2001 layoff. Struck by the work he saw at a gig poster show, he got in with some artists and by 2003 was doing posters for shows at venues including the Triple Rock and First Avenue.

He screen prints everything himself, learning through online tutorials and trial and error.

"Every single side of a business, I'm doing," says Turman. "I'm very right-brained but there's a lot of left brain that I've been learning too through the course of all this."

Three and out with Adam Turman

  • How would you describe your style?
    The pinup style is a bold, graphic style of line work. It's got a little bit of comic book flair to it. The cityscape stuff, I do a couple different styles. I have a silhouette style that's really bold and blocky and another style where I define the shape more … I try to be darn thoughtful about what I do.
  • What poster would you most like to do?
    Iron Maiden and the Beastie Boys would be kick ass to do. Another thing I think would be really fun to do would be some Tour de France.
  • What are you working on now?
    Over the holidays, I was getting a lot of personal commissions: "I'm getting engaged, I want a picture for my fiancé" or "Can you draw a picture of my dog?" I'd like to get more of a national following (with his new Road Trip series — state-themed, limited-edition prints he's releasing each month this year). I'm starting on the West Coast and heading east, keeping it really secretive to surprise people.