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Chris Smith: Rohnert Park toothpick artist can’t help but to aim higher

Scott Weaver has spent a? sizable chunk of his ?58 years on Earth bonding toothpicks with Elmer’s glue.

“It is so tedious,” he affirmed at his longtime home in Rohnert Park. Yet, he can’t stop.

Compulsively creative and self-challenging, and also overtly joyful, Weaver appeared in newspapers and on TV everywhere after he exhibited at the 2008 Sonoma County Fair his grand and utterly boggling toothpick sculpture of San Francisco Bay.

About 9 feet tall, it consists of more than 100,000 painstakingly glued toothpicks and boasts ping-pong ball tours that roll through or past or over Coit Tower, AT&T Park, Chinatown, both the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, the Transamerica building, the Cliff House, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Park windmills, Alcatraz, Muir Woods and too many other landmarks to mention.

Today, the piece of stunningly intricate toothpick art resides at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. And Scott closes in on the completion of another.

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IT’S A MODEL of the Apollo 11 lunar lander that he’s labored over for 100-plus hours.

“It’s going to have well over 4,000 toothpicks by the time I’m done with it,” the athletic and sportive former Luckys supermarket produce man said at his dining-table workstation.

He and his latest creation will be featured June 23 and 24 at Italian Street Painting Marin.

Held in downtown San Rafael and easily reachable by the SMART train, the festival showcases the work of artists able to create masterpieces and ?3D magic by applying chalk to pavement. The event is hosted by the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases and benefits community art endeavors.

The theme the year is “Wonders of Space & Time.” Organizers invited Scott to bring his lunar lander and apply finishing touches to it, exhibit some of his other toothpick artistry and talk with kids and adults about what he does, how he does it, and why.

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FOR THE FIRST TIME, Scott is giving a piece away. He’ll donate the lunar lander to be sold in the charitable street art fair’s silent auction.

He puts so many hours of work into each toothpick sculpture that he usually can’t bear to think of selling or otherwise parting with one. The Exploratorium pays him for the loan and of his pièce de résistance, Rolling Through the Bay, the sculpture he premiered a decade ago at the Sonoma County Fair.

Once Italian Street Painting Marin is over, Scott will return to another project: a toothpick model of San Francisco’s new No. 1 skyscraper, the 1,070-foot Salesforce Tower. Once it’s finished, he’ll add it to the piece at the Exploratorium.

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ENDLESSLY FASCINATED and hungry for new ways to test himself and astound the rest of us, Scott is the same guy who for 22 straight years spent months transforming the home he shares with his infinitely tolerant wife, Rochelle, into a fantasyland holiday castle so over the top it won him a $50,000 prize on national TV’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

Did I mention that Scott also juggles axes and machetes, and he can perform a handstand on a skateboard from here to the end of the block?

To force himself to sit and glue Diamond-brand toothpicks hour after hour, he figures, is part optional art-making and part essential meditation.

You can reach Staff Writer Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 or chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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