Alex Belardo Kostiw’s self-publishing practice, exploring the unknown parts and possibilities of the self, the complexity of human connection, and the nebulous shape of reality. Rooted in visual communication design and printmedia, these works deal in poetic, adapted, and iterative elements, visual structures of comics, and conceptually driven forms.


Tenderly, a studio

Alex is an artist, graphic designer, and educator in Chicago. Working in poetry comics, they frame the ambiguities in familiar experiences to make space for notions of reality to shift and a sense of something unknowable to slip in.

Blurring the line between artist’s books and zines, Alex’s work presents traces of a story with text that is gently enigmatic and images that teeter between being figurative and illegible. Alex interrogates what “knowing” means on an intimate level. They are most interested in how knowledge forms within our bodies through the interplay of physical interactions and intuition; what eludes being known and how; and interior ways that we evade, reframe, or act on different kinds of knowledge. Their explorations include myth-making, in-betweenness, modes of inter/active reading, and books as installational projects.

Alex teaches design fundamentals and approaches to narrative in Visual Communication Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 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.
2023–24 HATCH Residency.
May 6–7, Seattle Artist Book Fair, Washington Hall, Seattle.
June 3–4, CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo), Broadway Armory, Chicago.

Boston Art Book Fair, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, Chicago Art Book Fair, Independent Artist Book Fair, LA Art Book Fair (virtual), St. Louis Small Press Expo, Autoptic, CAKE, CALA, DiNK, MICE, TCAF, Zineland Terrace, Co-Prosperity (solo; group), The Annex at Spudnik Press (solo), Evanston Art Center (group), Carlow University Art Gallery (group), Tephra ICA (group), Chicago Design Museum (group presentation), 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, Haas Arts Library Special Collections at Yale University.