Brian Shields was a British painter. Born in Liverpool in 1951, Shields first began his working career as a trainee chef in a hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire in 1968. Though he had been discouraged from becoming a professional artist, Shields had shown great artistic talent very early in his youth. The name ‘Braaq’, which the artist often used to sign his work, was a nickname acquired at school which played on the name of the French artist Georges Braque. It was this name that the artist used to sign his first significant artwork, a mural painted in Harrogate. The sudden appearance of the artwork, along with the unusual pseudonym, caused a great deal of interest in the search for the identity of the artist. After Shields’ name was revealed by a local journalist, his professional artistic career flourished. The artist remained in Harrogate throughout most of his working life. He held his first solo exhibition in 1974, followed by four significant exhibitions in London in 1977.
Shields was best known for his paintings of industrial scenes of northern England, which feature rich colours, misty backgrounds and highly distinctive figures in the fore. Many, if not all, of these paintings are based on the artist’s childhood memories of life in Liverpool. His success in representing the atmosphere in and around his native city encouraged the popular press of the time to describe the artist as ‘Liverpool’s Lowry’. Shields primarily produced paintings of townscapes and sporting scenes, though he completed several self-portraits. The artist often included self-portraits within his great townscapes, painting himself in the form of a young boy wearing wellington boots and a striped black-and-white jumper. Shields moved to Portugal in 1982, where he lived and worked until his death in 1997.