Someone You Should Know: Bismarck man shares Hope Through Art

Local News

Bill Brien is fairly new to art, but it didn’t take long for it to take off.

His desire to create came from his wife, Geri, who died of cancer in 2018.

“That drove a desire in me to share how loving she still remained in the midst of the pain that she was going through,” Brien said.

His creations come from the palm of his hand – all on his cell phone.

He’d work from the waiting room when he went to treatment appointments with his wife.

“I wanted to share what she was going through and I didn’t know how at first,” said Brien. “But then I slowly found that I wanted to use art at the tool or the vehicle to share the message that I have as my company slogan, called ‘Hope Through Art.'”

Brien is from Grand Forks with roots in the Turtle Mountains and Spirit Lake.

His designs stem from his Native background but a lot of the inspiration comes from his wife and his family.

He says it’s them who gets him through the tough times.

“She was trying to explain to me, I believe, that I’m not the only one that was grieving, I’m not the only one that has gone through loss…but that we all have. It’s a part of life and that we can get through any difficulty whatever it may be, together.”

When people buy something from Bountiful Rei’s, they’re buying a connection to an experience of Brien’s.

Each piece comes with a story and he hopes others can relate to those stories in their own ways.

“I like to call the art piece just a window but the story allows you to open the window and see what’s inside.”

This piece [see video above] is titled “Patient.”

It represents his wife and the patience she had in Brien’s early days of recovery.

She was there for him, and shortly after, he was there for her.

“I think it was a Godsend, too,” he reflected. “It was around 2011-2012 that I was able to be in recovery, make strides, to make my life more meaningful and fulfilled and I think that played into when my wife needed me,” making Bill Brien … Someone You Should Know.

The name Bountiful Rei’s honors Geri, whose middle name was Rei.

Brien also donates a portion of his art proceeds to the Bismarck Cancer Center where his wife received treatment.

The Center then gives every penny to help families with the same sort of things his wife and family went through.

His art is sold at Star Gifts in the Gateway Mall in Bismarck.

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