as an


my journey as an


Born in Denver, Colorado but raised in Rural Indiana, Kim spent her summers with her grandparents exploring the rocky mountains. She remembers quiet dialogues with the water falls and trees and it is these moments that deeply impacted Kim. Conversations with nature have greatly impacted her artistic expression.

But Kim Nikoalev also has the mind of a scientist. Calm and rational, she approaches life like her father, who was CEO of a number of orthopedic companies that specialize in metallic hip and knee reconstruction. She also draws from her grandfather, though she never met him, who was a PhD in Metallurgy in Moscow. This scientific approach combined with her mother’s financial background heavily influenced Kim’s ability to rationalize the emotional and interpret it into form. 

Kim began her training at 16 apprenticing with a successful goldsmith. From there she trained as a Metal Smith and Fine Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University, obtaining her Bachelors and Masters Degree and later certification from G.I.A.

During her college years she was influenced by historical Chicago architecture while working in the Antique Jewelry division of the original Marshall Fields department store in downtown Chicago. She developed her taste for luxury and high-quality in the field of Advertising and Design where she directed a large corporate art and package design department.

Her husband, Tom Bollinger, is an internationally recognized sculptor. He also owns Bollinger Atelier that casts and fabricates sculpture for artists spanning the globe. Her studio is housed in this Atelier in Tempe, Arizona.

Kim says of her work, “Every day I have a new idea — so working on how I can streamline my ideas and get right to the new thing is important for me.  And all along, nature, mountains, and western deserts have inspired my art and craft.”

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