After years of making small toothpick models as a hobby and giving them away as gifts, Munro began his first major project, ‘Toothpick City I: History of Skyscrapers’ in 2003. The exhibit contains more than 50 scaled replicas of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, including the Chrysler Building in New York, Burj Al Arub Hotel in Dubai and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Permanently on display at the House of Katmandu in Majorca, Spain, the exhibition is crafted entirely out of everyday round, square-centered toothpicks and Elmer’s glue. Munro asserts that the buildings themselves are hollow inside and are reinforced by minimal toothpick supports, as the combination of wooden toothpicks and regular glue is ‘a pretty strong combination, much stronger than cardboard’.
Using the same techniques as ‘Toothpick City I’, ‘Toothpick City II: Temples & Towers’ is currently under construction on a staggering 24 ft by 28 ft oval platform. With a scale of 1:164, it is estimated that the finished product will contain almost four million toothpicks. At the centre of this extraordinary exhibition will be the Burj Khalifa tower, at almost 19 ft tall – a long way from the artist’s first six inch egg cup! The collection is set to include architecture representing all major religions, with cathedrals, temples and mosques, after a suggestion from a grade-school student. The toothpick maestro comments: "Toothpick City II represents mankind's quest for the heavens, whether spiritual or physical. The exhibit will honour architectural achievement, religious diversity, and historical accuracy".
In the final stages of this huge project, Munro is looking for suggestions from WAN readers as to which last religious monuments should complete his collection. To view additional images and a full list of finished toothpick structures, click here. E-mail your helpful hints to firstname.lastname@example.org.