Originally from the rural North Sea coast of Germany about an hour northwest of Bremen, Kim set aside her original trade to attend art and design college in Oldenburg. Kim had completed training and apprenticeship to be a journeyman carpenter/furniture maker but soon realized that woodworking was a stepping stone, not a final destination.
Kim worked her way through art school tending bar until the early A.M., and then after a couple of hours of sleep, driving an hour to attend class in Oldenburg. While often butting heads with the instructors and their rigid adherence to the "rules of art," Kim developed her own style of colorful expressive abstract work.
While immersed in the local music scene, which centered around a club that brought touring U.S. and other international alternative, punk, and grunge bands to the small city of Wilhelmshaven, Kim continued to paint and develop her art.
After a brief foray as a restauranteur and chef at her own art cafe in a nearby seaside tourist town, a chance visit to Cologne brought an opportunity to leave small-town life behind and make the move nearly 400 km south.
Along with the widened perspective, Cologne brought Kim her first big city exhibitions and press. She also started working in theatre and was soon designing sets and costumes for Opera Mobile and other productions. She also tried her hand on-screen, garnering bit parts and extra work on films and television.
In the late 90s, she met her future husband, American musician Russ Tolman, who was introduced to Kim by a mutual acquaintance while he was on tour in Germany. Tolman returned to Germany a few months later, sparks flew, and Kim and he were married in Cologne in 2000.
Joining Tolman in San Francisco in 2001, Kim started her career as a scenic designer in earnest, designing nearly 200 theatre productions in the Bay Area in her ten-year period there, along the way joining the United Scenic Artists, Local 829/IATSE.
Relocating to Los Angeles in 2011, Kim was approached by a themed entertainment design firm that designed parks in far-flung locations such as Dubai, which led to the next phase of her design career which included stints at Walt Disney Imagineering where she was part of the team designing Disney World's Pandora - The World of Avatar, Universal Studios Hollywood where she helped design The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and time in Japan at Universal Studios Osaka, where her team designed Super Nintendo World.
Kim has also had many film, TV, and commercial design projects. In addition to several award-winning short films, her commercial work includes spots for Pepsi and L'Oreal starring Beyoncé, as well as spots for McDonalds. Her TV work includes CHAT.LIKE.LOVE a series for Dreamworks Television, and Ultimate Proposal, a web series for Yahoo!.
Kim is also a prolific pattern designer whose designs have been licensed for many products ranging from home decor to tech accessories to clothing. You can see her designs at Spoonflower.
Through this all, Kim has found time to paint and exhibit throughout California.

Back to Top