"Art comes in all forms," said Brad Shields, an artist and student at Montana State University-Northern.
Shields is a graphic design major and is in his fourth year of college. He transferred from Aaniiih Nakoda College and has been working on his digital and contemporary art for many years.
Shields said he has had an interest in creating art ever since he began drawing as a kid.
"It runs in my family," Shields said. "It's a natural ability."
Shields said that his father, aunt, siblings and other family members are also artists, and he grew up around them creating.
'I appreciate anybody else's work as much as mine," Shields said.
He said he prefers painting with oils when he is not working on graphic design and usually paints in abstract or surrealist styles. His favorite subjects have Native themes, he said, but he is not afraid to do anything.
Shields studied art in Billings and said he prefers the classes and atmosphere of Northern's art class.
"Here, you get a little more room ... more one-on-one work with professors," Shields said. "Coming here, I've been able to hone my skills."
Shields said that one of the best aspects of taking art classes is the number of projects he has completed in them.
Shields is also on the Chancellor's Lecture Series Committee and makes posters for them. He added that he has done a lot of work for different organizations and companies using his skills in graphic design and conventional art.
"When I'm done, I can take a look at all these projects and have a portfolio," Shields said.
Many of his works he gives away to his family or pro bono to organizations and businesses. He has done logo and branding design work for Sundogs LLC, Native Touch, Yellowstone Pond in Billings and others. He also painted a mural at the Smokehouse Grill in Fort Belknap.
"I was fortunate enough to get these businesses," Shields said. He added that with this work history, he can more easily find work with businesses for similar projects.
Shields said between his lessons with Norton Pease and Joel Soiseth, he is turning into a fairly well-rounded artist.
"I'll take on any genre - the harder, the better," Shields said.
Shields graduates with his bachelor's degree in graphic design in May after a four-year college career.
Shields said his ultimate goal is to get a studio in Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, where he was born and raised and to get the art program at Aaniiih Nakoda College going.
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