Brian Shields was born in Liverpool in 1951, His father Dennis Shields was a highly regarded artist but on account of having twelve children was unable to support his family through painting alone. Brian’s eldest brother pursued a successful career in America as a sculptor.
The unusual name of ‘braaq’ is a misspelling of the famous French artist Braque which, on account of his artistic talent as a boy, was his nickname at school. The name ‘Ann’ after his own signature was his sister who died at the young age of 21 and to whose memory all of his subsequent paintings were dedicated.
Brian was discouraged from becoming a professional artist and after leaving school became a trainee chef in a somewhat drab hotel in Harrogate. In an attempt to brighten the place he painted a mural. This mural caused a great deal of interest in the area but as he had signed it ‘Braaq’, the true identity of the artist remained a mystery until a local journalist identified Brian Shields as the painter.
From this point he never looked back, holding his first exhibition in 1974. In 1977 he was invited to hold his first of four exhibitions in London’s West End. It was after this exhibition that ‘The Times’ described him as “one of the six most successful artists in England”.
All Brian’s paintings are based, in a humorous way, on his childhood memories of Liverpool. He frequently painted himself as a boy wearing a striped jumper.
In 1997 at the age of 46 Brian died, leaving a contribution to the art world which ranks him among the leading artists in the country.