In Conversation with Patti Blau - Ordinary Habit

In Conversation with Patti Blau

In Conversation with Patti Blau - Ordinary Habit

A picture may be worth a thousand words—but what about a puzzle?

For Patti Blau, visual storytelling and style have always been worthwhile details. While Blau's inspirations vary, her work is heavily influenced by an enduring love of fashion and vintage. "I'm drawn to mid-century style because of the iconic shapes and designs, but I'm also a fan of technology," she noted. "I like to combine them, and I work digitally." This duality proved helpful for Blau when crafting the artwork for one of our new puzzles, Sunny Afternoon—a welcome scene amid the chaos of modern living.

The Miami-based illustrator has also found herself in various environments (personally and professionally), which have helped shape her charming illustration aesthetic. Location aside, Blau's work breathes new life into ordinary moments, from well-dressed figures in motion to still-life vignettes. Below, the artist shares her story, process, and a few springtime habits.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your upbringing. How has your definition of creativity evolved from childhood?

I grew up in suburban New York City during a time of prosperity, and this has always been a subject of interest to me. When I was little, I used to draw different houses in a row and cars on a street that looked like where I lived. I just was always interested in design: what furniture we chose, what clothes we wore, and what items we put in our homes presented an endless array of subject matter for me to study and catalog.

When I was young, I liked to play with dolls. I would make an apartment out of a plexiglass round table on a shag rug, dress the dolls up for the scene, and then admire my creations! There wasn't really a story to act out. I just liked to make the environment.

What skills have you transferred from your previous "creative life" into your current work?

After graduating from Parsons School of Design, I worked in film production in NYC as an art director, prop stylist, and costume designer. I had the opportunity to design film sets and also dress my characters. My illustrations are a continuation of that passion. I'm designing the environment and putting the characters inside.

Sunny Afternoon Puzzle by Patti Blau - Ordinary Habit


You cite "light, color, and nature" as primary inspirations. How do you engage with these details outside of art?

I have many collections in my home from my love of thrifting and going to fleamarkets. It's comforting to fill my space with objects similar to those from my childhood. I love vintage globes, dishes, and things representing my travels and interests. I live in Miami, so I can have an indoor-outdoor feel with a big screened porch. There is a lot of natural light and color here.

What themes, scenes, or moments did you want to explore when conceiving Sunny Afternoon?

Creating Sunny Afternoon allowed me to design a setting with many different objects and colors. A table of food is in a room before it's occupied. It's a time of day when the light comes through the blinds and makes shadows just the moment before the people enter the set.

We love that your work centers on themes of fashion, objects, and interiors. Noting the latter two, and given that you've created artwork for a puzzle, how do you plan to style Sunny Afternoon in your home?

I'm planning to frame my Sunny Afternoon puzzle. I have lots of art on my walls and the perfect place for it.


Patti Blau Artist

Patti's Spring Habits

What is your favorite vintage spring moment? I've enjoyed watching "The New Look" on Apple TV. It incorporates history and post-war Europe. With the history of French couture, it had human drama and passion all in one compelling and gorgeous historical episodic TV show.

What three songs are on repeat on your spring playlist? For Spring spinning, I'm listening to "The Thrill is Gone" by MHE, "Thinking of You" by Lord Echo, and "Funky Kingston" by Toots and the Maytals.

What is your favorite spring habit or indulgence? I love spending more time outside on the porch in perfect weather.

What is your ideal sunny afternoon in Miami? A sunny afternoon in Miami could be spent having a leisurely outdoor lunch.

What is your ideal sunny afternoon in New York? I think I'd go to one of the many museums—maybe a sunny day at the Metropolitan under the glass ceilings in the park.

What is your go-to spring color palette? Natural sand colors with a pop of light pinks and pale blues.

What do you hope to notice more this spring? I hope to notice more foliage and pops of color.

What is your ideal spring puzzling environment? My ideal puzzling environment is a big table with comfortable seating and good natural light.

What other Ordinary Habit puzzle do you love? Too hard to say! I love them all! If I was forced to pick, maybe one of Maja Tomljanovic's, Rachel Victoria Hillis's, or even Tanu Vasu's little skaters!

What spring prompt would you give to the Ordinary Habit community? Look for iconic objects in your home to draw, photos in magazines to cut out, or even print some pictures from online. Which vase do you select? Which clock? What coffee cup? Add a candlestick? Which table and chair seem right for your space? See if you can create a still-life environment by combining the objects you selected.

“I’ve loved partnering with Ordinary Habit and being a part of their vision. The puzzles are carefully curated. They incorporate a group of illustrators with images that are cohesive and unique to their brand. The excellent quality of the puzzles makes them special to put together—and then display. I just love the community they have created, and it is an honor to be a part of their collection!”

— Patti Blau