Brian Shields was born in Liverpool in 1951 and was given the unusual pen name `Braaq` (a misspelling of the name of the famous French artist Braque) when he was a young boy, as a result of his early artistic talent. After his signature, the name `Ann` also appears, in tribute to his sister, who died at the age of 21 and to whose memory all his subsequent paintings were dedicated.
Braaq was not encouraged to become a professional artist and his early career thus began in the catering trade in Harrogate. In an attempt to brighten the hotel in which he worked, he painted a mural which caused a great deal of local interest and, on the strength of this, his first exhibition was held in 1974.
Braaq began to exhibit in London's West End in 1977 and his first show was such a success that The Times newspaper described him as `one of the six most successful artists in England`.
Braaq's paintings are based on his childhood memories of Liverpool. He died in 1997 at the young age of 46.