Meet the Leeds artist whose Marcelo Bielsa portrait made of 1300 Rubik's cubes is on display at Elland Road

The Leeds United faithful's love for Marcelo Bielsa has been expressed in a multitude of ways.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Whether through singing his name on the terraces, making murals in his honour or creating a set of garden gnomes in tribute, 'El Loco' certainly left a lasting impression during his three-and-a-half seasons at Elland Road.

Oliver Burns from Horsforth was one of those to be captivated by the fiery Argentine's time in West Yorkshire and decided to express his joy in his own unique way - by creating an astounding portrait made up of 1,300 Rubik's Cubes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And while he initially created it as something to keep for himself, the piece was soon snapped up and has now been put on display at Elland Road, which Oliver said was a "huge honour".

Oliver, 22, said: "The process took over two weeks to design and build. Solving one cube blows peoples' minds and so you can imagine that solving 1,300 takes quite some doing.

"It's a picture that means so much to me and as a lifelong Leeds fan it's so cool to have it in the stadium.

"The transformation he brought to the club and the city is remarkable."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Oliver explained that the piece - named 'El Loco' - also acts a tribute to his uncle David Hyde who introduced him to 'Rubik's Cube art' before he sadly passed away.

Oliver said: "David was the second person ever to delve into Rubik's Cube art and achieved remarkable success.

"He got me in to it and when he was diagnosed with cancer we said we'd make a Marcelo Bielsa piece together for my bedroom. A few months later he passed away so I decided to do it myself."

He explained that he makes the pieces by taking a picture and pixelating it on his computer to work out how many Rubik's cubes he needs and what colour code each one would need to have before solving them all and putting them together accordingly.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Oliver said that the Bielsa piece was the first one that he made and was intended to be one he kept for himself as a tribute to his uncle.

He said: "I took it to a charity event to show people what I could do. There was an auction for me to create a piece for someone and the person behind the foundation said he wanted to buy the Bielsa one off me to put it up in his box in Elland Road.

"It was hard to part ways with it but to have it in Elland Road is something I'm really proud of."

After the piece was bought in 2021 Oliver has "taken up the mantle" from his uncle and is creating Rubik's Cube artwork full time. He has made self-portraits at peoples' request as well as murals of the likes of David Bowie, Elton John and Rob Burrow.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It's accelerated massively", he said. "Loads of opportunities have come up. It's such a unique art form and gets such a strong reaction from people."

Looking to the future, Oliver said that he hopes to continue making, selling and showcasing his Rubik's Cube artwork globally.

He said: "This passion project has evolved from a personal gift to a fulfilling full-time job, making me feel incredibly fortunate."