Alex Belardo Kostiw’s self-publishing practice, exploring unknown parts and possibilities in our everyday realities. Rooted in visual communication design and printmedia, these works deal in poetic, adapted, and iterative elements, visual structures of comics, and conceptually driven forms. ︎info

︎ on a shelf / in a space
︎ on a shelf / in a space

Sa Salita—Stories He Took with Him

26 pages, stab-stitch binding with fold-out pages, laserjet, 8.5 x 5.5 inches

A collection of fragments of my grandfather’s stories set alongside drawings of his hand gestures. Each page unfolds to reveal illustrations, bits of personal photos, and reproduced woodcuts that reference Filipino folktales and myths, my grandfather’s life and migration, and the dining table where I would sit across from my grandfather and listen. Together images and texts describe a dozen stories and imply many more.

the same heart

8 pages, one sheet folded, risograph, 4.25 x 2.75 inches

Sometimes, a family is less like a tree and more like a cadena de amor. This book is a letter to my roots and vines.

Enchiridion C.B.

36 pages, saddle-stitch binding and accordion fold, risograph and laserjet, 10.25 x 5 inches

The mythology of a trickster-god known as “Cate Blanchett,” in four parts: lexicon, cosmogenesis, epiphany, and artifacts. Enchiridion explores the arc of a god’s multiplicitous existence, the language of worship, and mythology as a means to understanding phenomena of the self. Manipulated and original images, tropes relating to divinity, and motifs repeating across multiple narratives imagine “Cate Blanchett” as a figure between reality and infinite possibilities—a reflection of ourselves.

Finalist for the Broken Pencil Awards.

book/marks, 2019 —

This series crystallizes those aimless images and thoughts that I keep returning to, while exploring the possibilities of a 7 x 2-inch format.

I: A Name

12 pages, saddle-stitch binding, risograph, 7 x 2 inches

A Name is a brief, personal reflection on what it might mean to make a person. With images that allude to Greek mythology, Penelope, “the name without a girl,” is my idea of a daughter.

II: Wendr

12 pages, saddle-stitch binding, risograph, 7 x 2 inches

Wendr is a spell, cast on me by a stick I saw on the ground c. 2017. Years later, I still thought about it. Ruminating on magical wands, the book changes in orientation and reading direction so that reading it is akin to the pull and push of energy that characterizes magic.

Meanwhile, a witch wanders, wandless...

III: 6 Wings

6 pages, accordion fold, reduction woodcut, glue, 2022, 7 x 2 inches

6 Wings reimagines the mythological multi-limbed, winged Geryon, whom Hercules murdered for his red cows. Few depictions of Geryon have survived antiquity. To echo that, making this book, a reduction woodcut print with collaged covers, involved destroying the print matrix and parts of the prints. The book embraces Geryon as a fugitive body—forever beyond our grasp.

The Word Sm*t

40 pages, staple-bound, laserjet, 5.5 x 4.25 inches

In every erotic encounter there is an invisible and ever-active participant: imagination, desire. Octavio Paz

Brief descriptions of random Tumblr posts after the platform’s ban on adult content and of Google search results for kinky images are imposed on a grid sparsely populated with vague fleshy drawings. The result feels out the edges of erotica, the extent to which eroticism is a personal perception, and the role of withholding in desire.

︎ Alex Belardo Kostiw

Alex is an artist, graphic designer, and educator in Chicago. Like dense knots, their stories invite intuitive reading, implying more than they reveal—and resisting full unravelling.

Through poetic narratives, imagery often playing on legibility, and layered formats, Alex reframes the familiar. Their storytelling deepens or shifts what the reader may take for granted about realities both personal and shared. Alex’s process often involves capturing, fragmenting, reframing, and/or combining different perspectives on everyday phenomena, such as reimagining birds as stories based on their names, or creating a sense of place by juxtaposing drawings from memory with old photographs. Through their practice, they guide readers to discover new interpretative meanings in what seems well understood, making space for what may be unknown and unknowable in the everyday, in others, and in ourselves. Alex’s explorations include myth-making, in-betweenness, modes of inter/active reading, and books as installational projects.

Alex teaches design foundations and approaches to narrative in Visual Communication Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as printmaking at Spudnik Press, a community print shop. They are also the publishing arm of an art gallery and an independent designer focused on publications, visual identities, and illustrations that center historically marginalized voices in art and culture.

Alex holds an MFA in Visual Communication Design from SAIC and a BA in English Literature from the University of Chicago. They live with many reams of paper and two cats.

now / future

2023–24 HATCH Residency
Fall 2024 two-person show, Chicago Artists Coalition


Comics, Zine, and Art Book Fairs Boston Art Book Fair; Chicago Art Book Fair; Independent Artist Book Fair, New York; LA Art Book Fair (virtual); Seattle Art Book Fair; Autoptic, Minneapolis; CAKE, Chicago; CALA, LA; CXC, Columbus, OH; DiNK, Denver; MICE, Boston; SLICE, St. Louis; TCAF, Toronto; Zineland Terrace, Toronto. 
Exhibitions (*solo) Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago; Co-Prosperity, Chicago*; The Annex at Spudnik Press, Chicago*; Evanston Art Center, Evanston; Carlow University Art Gallery, Pittsburgh; Tephra ICA, Tephra, VA; Chicago Design Museum.
Residencies In Cahoots Residency (2022); Spudnik Press Artist Residency (2016–17).


Joan Flasch Artist’s Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Zine Collection at the University of Chicago Library, Zine and Comics Collection at the MassArt Library, Decker Library at MICA, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Pratt Institute Artist’s Books Collection, RISD Artist’s Books Collection, Zine Collection at Tufts SMFA Library, Haas Arts Library Special Collections at Yale University.