July 2022 Issue
photography (top and bottom right) by
T.R. Love, T.R. Media World
Lydia Kapp Gutilla
Current Residence: Hilton Head Island, SC Hometown: Aurora, CO
Career: Writer, Actress, Singer, Artist
Art: Screenplays, Plays, Essays, Poetry, Film, Theatre, Oil Pastels, Mosaics
Family: Married to Vito Gutilla, Daughter of Greg and Donna Kapp
When and how did you discover your talent?
I’m pretty sure I began acting as soon as I could talk! I did my first play at 8 years old and started writing my own scripts around the same time. I began serious acting classes when I was 12 and did all of the film, theatre and musical theatre I could get my hands on after that. I have been training and performing ever since! I adore stories. They are the fabric of human life in all its many colors, and it is my mission to cultivate a more beautiful world through the stories I tell.
What makes you a Lowcountry Original?
My husband and I moved to Hilton Head Island three years ago after living in Los Angeles for seven years. It was a huge leap of faith and a dramatic change of pace, but I have fallen in love with the Lowcountry. It’s languid beauty inspired me to pick up my oil pastels again, and writing while the whippoorwills coo outside my window is now one of my absolute favorite things! I’m currently writing the screenplay for Natasha Boyd’s book The Indigo Girl, about South Carolina’s own Eliza Lucas Pinckney, and I can just picture Eliza looking up at the same kind of gorgeous Carolina forest I admire from my bedroom window. The natural, casual elegance of the Lowcountry is truly magical.
What do you hope people “get” out of your art?
My fervent desire is that when people encounter my work, they will experience radical love and true humanity. I do not shy away from hard topics, and nuance is my calling card. I challenge people to see, with their own eyes, how lovely even our complicated, messy, broken world can be. With every story I write, every role I play, every image I paint, I seek to bring the goodness of the divine into the land of the living.
When someone finds out what you do, what question do they always ask you?
When people find out I’m an actor, they always ask, “Oh! What have I seen you in?” To which I playfully respond “Nothing yet! Stay tuned!” I have learned that being an artist means seeing the vision long before anyone else sees the manifestation. I take ownership of my craft, regardless of who sees (or doesn’t see) my work.
Do you think you’re weird? If so, what do you love about your weirdness?
I am absolutely weird! My mind runs a million miles a minute. I am constantly synthesizing scenarios, structures, words, actions, feelings, and images, and then trying to articulate them through the limited but nevertheless majestic invention we call language. Or, maybe it’s a glass mosaic, depends on the day… Being me is an adventure—filled with projects and stream-of-conscience verbal processing (God bless my patient husband)—and I love being me.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve ever received in pursuing your artistic talents?
A few years ago, back in Los Angeles, I found out I did not get a part that I really, really thought I was going to get. I was devastated. My mother, who along with my father, has tirelessly championed my artistic dreams, told me: Lydia, “Dad and I are proud of you, not because you are successful, but because you continue to persevere in spite of all that is against you. You are marvelous—today. When you do succeed, we will be happy for you, but no more proud than we are today.” Those words still bring very sweet tears to my eyes.
What do you love most about your creativity?
Creativity is life! I truly believe it makes the world go round. The innovations of creative people are what lift us out of poverty, connect us to our fellow humans and facilitate everything basic and bountiful in our everyday world. Making things is my direct entry point into that same flow of genius. What I make makes my world—and the world around me too.
If you could take a year off with no financial or time restraints, what would you spend a year doing and where would you do it?
I would spend a year in Okinawa, Japan, training for my black belt in Karate! I studied Shotokan Karate for three years in L.A. and am currently a brown belt. I absolutely love the martial arts. Maybe I’ll score a book deal and get to write about training where it all began! That would be a treat!
Describe what success looks like for you.
Success is loving other people through your gifts. Naturally I aspire to do that alongside the best, most talented people, and at the highest levels of my field(s), but I have learned that true success depends on being able to live out your calling wherever you are. Regardless of whether or not anyone ever notices me or what I make, I still get to make beautiful things. As long as I’m doing that, and loving the people around me as I do, I’m walking in the way of greatness.