ALL in all, it's not just another brick on the wall at York Barbican. Far from it.

The Brick Dude, alias York artist Shaun Collins, has turned 1,148 Lego pieces into a framed David Bowie portrait in Aladdin Sane mode for display in the Barbican's restaurant, Seymour's Bar & Grill.

"It's 69 centimetres deep by 47 centimetres wide and took 16 hours to make, doing a couple of hours a night," says Dublin-born Shaun, who lives in Boroughbridge Road, York, having moved to the city 13 years ago.

He had made his monochrome Bowie in white, black, old and new grey and old and new dark grey Lego bricks. "Some colours are not manufactured any more, so I use a website called, which is basically like the ebay for Lego and sells full sets and individual pieces, some from the UK, some from Denmark, Sweden, all over Europe in fact, and some specific colours I get from the USA," says Irishman Shaun. "Sometimes, you can get 100 smaller pieces for £1, but some might be five times that price."

Shaun's first ever Lego portrait was of the firebrand Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. "I did it as a prototype for my best friend, Lee West, who's from Swansea, just to see that I could do it," he says.

He turned out to be a dab hand at Lego brickwork, and his public commissions began with a charity gig for St Leonard's Hospice at The Crescent, when Rob Wilson, of the York weddings, parties and corporate band The Mothers, was assembling items for a raffle. "He said, 'would you do a Lego portrait?', so I did Jimi Hendrix and they made £750 from it," he recalls. A Paul Weller portrait for the armed forces charity SSAFA ensued.

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Flash work: Shaun Collins with his David Bowie Lego portrait in Aladdin Sane mode at York Barbican. Picture: Simon Bartle

Now, his Lego rock stars, from Freddie Mercury to Hendrix and Bowie, are so in demand that Shaun faces a problem, albeit a welcome one. "Things are picking up so much for me that I simply haven't got enough room at home now," he says.

The configuration of the Lego bricks means that each work is unique. "To buy the 'brick David Bowie' would cost £1,400, but I'm donating it to the Barbican because I'm a big music fan. I love Bowie's music though I never saw play live," says Shaun.

Thanking him for presenting the Bowie artwork to the Barbican, general manager Mark Scott says: "When we first started Seymour's Bar and Grill, we were looking for rock'n'roll memorabilia and we knew Shaun was working on this piece. It will now have pride of place in the restaurant and epitomises what we're trying to do at the Barbican: provide the best in music.

"The restaurant is being used as the players' lounge at the UK Snooker Championship until December 10, but as soon as the pantomime rehearsals start we'll put it up in there."

Shaun is now working on a 92cm by 92cm George Best portrait, and unlike George's curtailed football career, it won't fall to pieces.