Photos of artwork and profile provided by Russ and Kim Tolman.

Column by DeAnn Lubell

Mark your calendars for an exciting art opening reception entitled RUCK BLICK 30 featuring the art of German artist Kim A. Tolman at Russ Tolman’s MAD.KAT GALLERY in Rancho Mirage on July 29 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.  The exhibition will run through October 15, 2023.

Hailing from the rural North Sea coast of Germany about an hour northwest of Bremen, current Palm Springs resident, Kim A. Tolman, set aside her original trade to attend art and design college in Oldenburg.  She completed training and apprenticeship to become a journeyman carpenter/furniture maker but soon realized that woodworking was a steppingstone, not a destination.


This determined young woman worked until the wee hours of the morning tending bar followed by only a couple of hours of sleep before 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. She also immersed herself in the local music scene centering around a club that attracted touring U.S. and other international alternative, punk, and grunge bands to the small city of Wilhelmshaven.  In the meanwhile, Kim continued to paint and develop her art.

An obvious multi-talent, Kim tried her hand as a restauranteur and chef at her own art cafe for a short time in a nearby seaside tourist town.  Happenstance created a new opportunity for Kim to leave small-town life behind and make the move nearly 400 km south to the bustling city of Cologne.  It was there where she experienced her first big city exhibitions and press.  Leaving no stone unturned, Kim also started working in theatre designing sets and costumes for Opera Mobile and other productions. It came as no surprise when she eventually got involved in show business garnering bit parts and extra work in film and television.

In the late 90s, she met her future husband, American musician Russ Tolman.  When she joined Russ in San Francisco in 2001, Kim started her career as a scenic designer in earnest.  During her ten-year stint in the Bay area, she designed sets for nearly 200 theatre productions, along the way joining the United Scenic Artists, Local 829/IATSE.

Kim eventually relocated to California where she has amassed an impressive portfolio in theatre, film/TV/commercials, and themed entertainment.  She has gathered several regional awards for her theatre scenic designs and worked with some of the biggest names in themed entertainment including Walt Disney Imagineering, NBC Universal, and Universal Studios Japan. Her television ad work has included clients such as McDonald’s, DreamWorks, Pepsi Cola, and L’Oreal.

As a fine artist, she prefers large format and her abstract, expressive work emphasizes texture and color.  Her talents also extend to commercial and residential interior design, including custom pattern design for wallpaper, fabric, and other products.  And now her works can be viewed at Tolman’s Rancho Mirage gallery called MAD.KAT GALLERY located at 71590 Highway 111.  For more information go to or call Russ Tolman at 760-980-7550.

“Life is your canvas,” said Kim.  “Throw some paint on it.”

Note from DeAnn Lubell.  Desert Art Scene will be on hiatus from June through September. We have some excellent local talents to spotlight next season.  Have a healthy and happy summer.

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