Br. Hilarion Brezik was born in Houston, Texas, on August 5, 1910. In addition to being a passionate educator, he was also a prolific artist known for his high energy, enthusiasm, and disregard for conventions of fashion (rumor has it students would place bets on which set of mismatched plaid pants he would wear to class). Thanks to his hosting of annual art shows, St. Edward’s became the first art gallery in Austin to have a regular schedule of activities.
In the Spring of 1978 Hilarion sold signed and numbered prints of each piece in his Signs of the Zodiac series. The profits were divided between the Brothers of the Holy Cross and Hilarion’s partner in marketing the prints, Addie Davis. He was meticulous about the quality of the prints - creating a stack of rejects two feet high before he was satisfied. He joked that some of the rejects, such as one with the horns of Aries the Ram coming out of Leo the Lion, might make for good collector’s items, but being a Leo himself, he couldn’t let it become a reality. The prints were widely distributed and some found their way to Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Atlanta. The person in charge of art acquisition for AT&T requested an entire set.
Hilarion retired from teaching in 1979, though he continued to paint for a few years. By 1985 income from his art sales had reached $50,000 with individual items fetching as much as $1,000 a piece. After years of battling various medical conditions, he passed away on June 4, 1987, at Notre Dame.
The original Signs of the Zodiac paintings, in addition to several other of his works, are held in the Archives and Special Collections of the Munday Library at St. Edward’s University.
Source: “The Roar of the Lion! The Smell of the Paint! A Biography of Brother Hilarion Brezik, C.S.C.” by Brother Gerald Muller, C.S.C