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. In the late 1970s Braaq's sister, Ann, died at the young age of 20. In memory of her, many of his subsequent paintings are signed with both his signature and "Ann". Also several of his pictures show graffiti "Agnes", this is in tribute to his mother. He is also known for painting himself into many of his works as a young boy wearing wellies and a black and white striped cotton jumper. Apparently the jumper being the only "new" item of clothing he ever remembered receiving as a young boy.
In 1997 at the age of 46 Brian Shields died, leaving a contribution to the art world which ranks him among the leading artists in the country. Since his death he has become even more popular and prices for his paintings have increased dramatically over the last few years. One of his paintings of York Races sold at auction in 2014 for a world record price of £66,000.
Click on pictures for large images and details
- - Sold
- - Reserved
10.25 x 16.75 ins (26.04 x 42.55 cms)
Oil on canvas
23¾ x 25¾ ins (60.33 x 65.41 cms)
6 x 9 ins (15.24 x 22.86 cms)
Oil on Board
10½ x 8½ ins (26.67 x 21.59 cms)