︎ ALEX BELARDO KOSTIW Alex is an artist, graphic designer, and educator in Chicago. Like dense knots, their work invites intuitive reading—and resists full unravelling. They frame moments of uncertainty in the everyday, making space for perceptions of reality to shift.
Through poetic narratives, imagery playing on unreadability, and layered formats, Alex approaches storytelling as a way of un-knowing. Their work quietly disrupts the familiar to enable the reader to discover new meanings in realities personal and shared. Their process often involves capturing, fragmenting, reframing, and/or combining different understandings of various phenomena, such as reimagining birds as stories based on their names, or creating a metaphysical sense of place by juxtaposing drawings from memory with parts of old photographs. Through their practice, they aim to destabilize the sense that knowledge is fixed, granting readers the chance both to perceive other possibilities and to embrace what is fundamentally fluid and unknowable. 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 2023–24HATCH Residency.
September 29, group show opening, Chicago Artist Coalition.
September 30–October 1, MICE, Boston, MA.
October 14, St. Louis Independent Comics Expo, St. Louis, MO.
October 29, Portland Zine Symposium, Portland, OR.
PAST Comics, Zine, and Art Book Fairs: Boston Art Book Fair; Chicago Art Book Fair; Independent Artist Book Fair; LA Art Book Fair (virtual); Seattle Art Book Fair; St. Louis Small Press Expo;
Autoptic, Minneapolis; CAKE, Chicago; CALA, LA; CXC, Columbus, OH; DiNK, Denver; MICE, Boston; TCAF, Toronto; Zineland Terrace, Toronto. Exhibitions (*solo): 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).
COLLECTIONS 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, Haas Arts Library Special Collections at Yale University.