Born in Liverpool in 1951, Brian Shields was brought into an artistic family of twelve children. 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.
Having not been encouraged to become an artist..., Brian Shields became a trainee chef working at a drab hotel. Looking to brighten up the hotel, Shields painted a mural, signing it 'Braaq' to hide his identity. 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.
Shields was unveiled as the artist by a journalist and went on to become a professional artist holding his first solo 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". He continued to paint until his untimely death from a brain haemorrage in 1997.
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.
Braaq's paintings are now amongst the most collectable on the Northern art scene and increasingly valued and sought after.