Toothpick treasures - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Toothpick treasures

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Frank Sanchez has spent the last 18 years of his life in a modest Escondido motel where he devotes his days to pursuing his passion.

"It's one-of-a-kind art in the world. Have you ever seen anything like this?" he said.

Frank painstakingly constructs massive sculptures out of toothpicks. All of his 3-D artwork, which occupies every nook and cranny in his room, is assembled and painted to be viewed under black light.

"You know, I'm humbled and content. I had homes and apartment, but you know, this is my mission field," Frank said.

As you can probably guess, the toothpick man has plenty of backstory -- years of drug addiction, depression, loss of family, friends, self-esteem, eventually hitting rock bottom before discovering a plan and a purpose in an Escondido motel.

"When you do it God's way, it might take some time, but it's going to be a blessing," Frank said.

Most of Frank's projects are biblical-themed, sprinkled with a few familiar company logos.

"People say there's a lot of money in here. Mine isn't about the money, it's about people's lives," he said. "Many people had come, and in the process I got to share the artwork, but mostly share Jesus with people in here."

For the toothpick man, life is mostly about choices.

"Where you going to live, heaven or hell?" Frank said.

Or Escondido?

"Oh yeah, it's a good place, that's why I'm here," Frank said.

It may seem like folly to some, attempting to build a stairway to heaven one toothpick at a time, but Frank Sanchez has discovered DayGlo redemption in the depths of an Escondido motel.

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