Piece by Piece Puzzler

Piece by Piece Puzzler

What's your name?
Richard

Where are you from?
Pennsylvania originally, but Queens, New York is my home now.

When did you start puzzling?
Like a lot of people facing down the uncertainty of the early days of the pandemic, I started puzzling in March 2020, when I bought a couple of puzzles for my partner and I to do while we were stuck inside. I had done puzzles as a kid with my mom, and revisiting puzzling as an adult has brought so much focus, calm and online community to my life.

What is your favorite piece count and why?
Overall, probably 1,000 pieces — it’s a large enough piece count to make a more challenging puzzle last a couple of days on my puzzle board and stretch out the fun. But I like to vary the piece counts that I do; I almost always do smaller puzzles (150-500 pieces) in between larger ones as a “palate-cleanser.”

What is your favorite type of art?
Collage puzzles, images with bright colors, pop culture or comic book art, and, increasingly, gradient puzzles.

What makes you keep puzzling and how often do you puzzle?
After a long day of work — or on a lazy weekend day — puzzling turns my mind to the “calm” setting. Suddenly, the problems of the day are usurped by whatever puzzle is currently on my board. During colder months especially, I puzzle most days — and when there is work or other obligations means I have to miss a day, I’m always all the more excited to dive back in the next time I can sit down to puzzle. I’ve started a YouTube channel recently to share my love of puzzling, and planning out videos has made me think more about challenging myself to try new and different things in the puzzle-verse: larger puzzles, 3D puzzles, puzzle challenges, etc.

What is your go to drink/snack when you puzzle?
I don’t usually snack while puzzling, but I do keep water by me to stay hydrated. And lately, I’ve been snacking on jelly beans for a jolt of energy when the puzzle has me stumped and I need a momentary break. I can’t eat jelly beans now without thinking about Soonness’s Jelly Bean puzzle, which was truly one of my favorites I’ve ever done.

Tell us a little bit about your other joys.
I love to read, go for walks, and explore all the museums and art that New York City has to offer. By day, I work in the theatre industry and love it. So my primary other passion is going to the theatre and helping to spread the gospel of live theatre (an art form that I truly believe fosters empathy and understanding) to others around the world. Puzzling tends to be a more solitary hobby, so it provides a nice juxtaposition to the hustle and bustle of the theatre world.

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