Self-taught artist Bob Morehead has crafted an intricate and labyrinthian cityscape using nothing more than wood glue and basic toothpicks—over 300,000 of them. Weighing around 50 pounds at over eight feet wide, two feet tall, and two feet deep, Bob's Toothpick City consists of tens of unique buildings that contain multiple floors and rooms, with stairways connecting one level to the next. Windows allow an eye into the edifices, though their outer surfaces are no less impressive, complete with tiny shingles, bricks, and panels. In the surrounding streets, tunnels, and slopes of the miniature metropolis, there are thousands of individually sanded toothpick rocks and a seawall of 750 individual blocks, with every skillfully sculpted detail more staggering than the last.
Morehead used no molds or forms to make his work—just his imagination, with inspiration from the architecture along the Amalfi Coast near Naples, Italy where he was born. He also cites his determined mindset, explaining, “I believe all artists, at one time or another, become so discouraged they contemplate giving up their craft. When you're made to feel like creating art is not a ‘real job' by people who don't understand or appreciate its true value, it makes one second-guess themselves. For me, creating is like oxygen. I can't survive without it; it truly is a part of my being, a part of my soul.”
Along with Bob's Toothpick City, the artist has also constructed individual building sculptures, including a treehouse, a tower, and more. You can take a look at his meticulous handiwork below and on his website.
Morehead's piece called Escape consists of 5,000 toothpicks mounted on basswood.
Jelly Birch Manor consists of 17,500 toothpicks and stands at 28.5 inches tall.
Nikki's Treehouse, made from 5,000 toothpicks, sits at the top of 134 toothpick steps. Its foundation is a mix of scraps from prior pieces, plus hundreds of unadulterated toothpicks for a junkyard vibe.
Abby Gail Tower‘s six levels and elegant spire required 10,000 toothpicks, constructed over a span of four months.
All images via Bob Morehead.