Careful Creations

California Artist Fashions Toothpick Portraits

Who says toothpicks are just for teeth? In California, artist Steven J. Backman has turned 30,000 of the tiny slivers of wood into a 13-foot-long interpretation of the Golden Gate Bridge and celebrity portraits of Oprah and Clint Eastwood. The nimble-fingered San Francisco native has also made a smaller version of the bridge from one individual toothpick. His wooden creations, which he fashions together with Elmer’s Glue, are being shown at Mountainsong Galleries in Carmel, California. Backman said he grew fond of toothpicks as a small child and never lost interest. "I'm one of the very few that does this, I think,” Backman said.