Lydia Epp Schmidt is an artist and thinker based in Berlin.
What's your story? Only partially-written. But one of constant learning, of an inability to sit still, of learning something new about myself every day. My story is one that doesn’t lie in the specifics about my life because as much as they have influenced me and contributed to who I am today, they do not define me. It’s a story if falling in love and losing myself in the mystery and magic of everyday moments. Of finding my peace in moments of pain, a constant journey towards being present, mindful, and open. Of welcoming change, though transition can be traumatic and unforgiving. My story is one of leaving for myself and staying for others—of loving too much and learning to let go. My story is one of an extroverted introvert looking for inner peace.
How would you describe your aesthetic? In very few words: simplicity and elegance; a boy wearing girl clothing. Androgyny is really important to me, but I have never wanted to look particularly masculine—my femininity plays an important role in both my aesthetic and my life in a more general sense.
The tree tattoo… The tree tattoo, still yet to come, is representative of a specific moment in my life. Representative of trees on a particular street in Berlin, trees I saw every day as I got to know the city better. Representative of falling in love with a particular place, a particular person, and a version of myself I’d only just discovered. It’s the remnant of a moment of clarity: finding a new talent and being proud of it. Though wholly mine, wholly an extension of my being, eventually my body, it’s a memory of feelings I’m letting go of.
(Insert a question that you want to answer related to your academic work on visual identity...) I think my academic pursuits are largely a reflection of the things I find most frustrating about contemporary culture—more than an innate interest in visual identity. I have felt pressured to have a strong visual identity my entire life, and even more so since I moved out of suburbia, since I started figuring out who I am. So studying the ways in which that identity can be produced and is consumed by others is personal—it’s something so intricately tied to my everyday life, it’s my own way of trying to make sense of all of the craziness, of everything that’s inexplicable, of the mess that I continually find the world to be.
Why Berlin? Berlin for many reasons. I need to move and it’s the place that has felt most like home: it was the place I first felt comfortable enough to figure out what my aesthetic is, what my visual identity is, how I want to be read by the world. It’s the city that allowed me to live in peace without pressure of social obligation, that allowed me to recognize unhealthy habits and fix them. It’s a city that fosters a creative spirit, that doesn’t constrict in space or money. That allows for a young mind to explore creatively without the constraints that New York has. But all of these words don’t express the spirit of the city, which is why Berlin.
How do you understand “wisdom”? Wisdom, to me, is the ability to have insight into something.
Anything else we should know? Being thoughtful towards others is both the most important thing we can do and the thing we forget to do most often.