The Art of Pop Sticks

Some sculptors work in marble, others use wood. Steven Backman prefers toothpicks. The artist, whose intricate works (including a sculpture of the Empire State Building, made from 7,470 toothpicks, and one of the Golden Gate Bridge, made from 30,000) have been shown extensively in galleries on the West Coast, recently was commissioned by Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream to create a piece for City of Hope, a medical center in Southern California. But this time, Backman switched mediums. His sculpture — an ice cream cone — was created from 2,720 pop sticks and glue, and will be displayed in the hospital’s children’s cancer center.

“Working with pop sticks took a little getting used to,” Backman told The Shmooze, “but it’s basically the same thing” as working with toothpicks. The ice cream cone, which is 3 1/2 feet tall, took one month to make — about 450 hours of labor.

Backman recently designed a Star of David, and he hopes create a sculpture for a Jewish museum in the near future. “I’d really like to get into Judaica,” he said. “I’d like to work with pieces from my heritage.”

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The Art of Pop Sticks

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