Linda Friedman Schmidt
Who is Linda Friedman Schmidt? "A self-created chameleon since her teenage years, a work of art herself, she has always been a work in progress," her bio says.
Linda Friedman Schmidt combines the remnants of discarded textiles with her unique past to create a body of work that celebrates the human spirit and brings to light the importance of human rights. As a child, Linda always knew she wanted to become an artist. However, her desires were often discouraged and her parents focused solely on academic achievements. After becoming a mother, she decided to realign her goals and become an artist full time. Her glorious body of work is auto-biographical, filtered through an unhappy postwar immigrant childhood, and influenced by current social, cultural, political, and feminist issues.
Linda began drawing women at a young age. She would draw women's figures and faces, copy Renoir paintings, and eventually got into fashion design. At only twenty-three years old, she started her own clothing company in New York City, called Lonia, after her original name. Her bio says:
She [Linda] was born Lonia Friedman in a displaced person camp in Germany in 1949, the first child of Holocaust survivors who met and married in the camp. The family arrived in Brooklyn, New York, when she was six moths old and Lonia became Linda.
Now residing in New Jersey, Linda spends her days making art, which includes the artistry of self-presentation. She believes in incorporating daily wellness into her artistic practice and will take the time to move her body, go to the gym, garden, and listen to jazz.
Her evenings are spent learning, researching, growing, and maintaining her daily life. But Sundays are for salsa dancing, and Linda heads into the city to salsa with some of the best Latin ballroom dancers in the world.
Linda links her artistic inspiration to a book on rug-hooking that she found at the library. While she had no interest in making rugs, she was fascinated in creative ways to repurpose discarded clothing.
One of her lifelong goals was to be acknowledged as a professional artist. In 2005, this became a reality when her work was exhibited at the American Folk Museum, right next to MoMA. Her work was featured with renowned folk artists such as Henry Darger, Bill Taylor, and Grandma Moses. This accomplishment allowed her to view her artistic work and practice as worthwhile.
Do you believe in ghosts?
"It depends on what you mean by ghosts. I believe that somehow we are all guided."
Do you believe in aliens?
"I believe that there may be other worlds we are unaware of."
Continue to support the artistic endeavors of Linda Friedman Schmidt and follow her on Instagram.