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


Co-Prosperity (Chicago, IL)

Digital prints on organza and paper, acrylic paint, vinyl, wood, fishing wire
Photos by Colectivo Multipolar, courtesy of Co-Prosperity

Pakiramdam, a Tagalog word roughly meaning an intuitive or empathetic sensing of something or someone, is an installation that explores how geographic and temporal distances can be collapsed by moments of recognition, a sense of kinship, or a memory. The project encodes my family’s history of immigration and migration, the in-betweenness of mixed-race identity, and embodiments of hybridity along the way. It interrogates how we locate ourselves, not just within place and time, but in relation to others; what it means to be present to others in spite of physical absence or distance; and notions of authenticity and synthesis in relation to cultural and personal identities.

Like spirits, we come together, overlap, and drift past each other in the narrative spaces of the project, a space in Chicago and in the countries of our minds.

In pursuit of the tiger

Chicago Artists Coalition (Chicago, IL)
Installed in To Be Continued..., curated by Sofía Sánchez Borboa, Sophie Buchmueller, and Denny Mwaura

Monoprints on kitakata, risograph prints, inkjet prints, cane, leather, nails, linen thread, found index drawer, wood box, off-cuts of paper and wood, pencils

An interactive, site-specific installation conceptualized as a library, In pursuit of the tiger explores the formation of knowledge through (1) wandering/wondering, (2) encountering and taxonomizing phenomena, and (3) making sense of one’s senses. The installation relies on readers’ encounters with it to develop meaning, gesturing toward knowledge as open ended and living, rather than static or fixed—just as easily lost or discarded as re/discovered and re/made.

A collection of monoprint pages suggest a tiger moving through a landscape; readers leave and take notes for each other based on their encounter with the images. Meanwhile, readers can browse a set of over 500 prints of abstracted photos of flora within 3 miles of the gallery. They may define what the images signify and categorize them in an index drawer; or pull cards from the drawer for a divinatory reading; or recategorize cards at will. Nearby, readers may flip through a concertina collecting words that suggest internal and external landscapes, to build their own story by selecting a few words to “read” as a narrative.

Marginalia guides readers through the installation. As strangers interact with it, they shape a shared reality and collaborate to build new and nebulous knowledge.

I’m calling from a great distance

The Annex, Spudnik Press Cooperative (Chicago, IL)

Screen prints, laserjet prints, and xerox transfers
Photos courtesy of Spudnik Press

A series of varied-edition screenprints and an artist’s book relate the communications between a lighthouse keeper and an interplanetary explorer. A dive into wanderlust, solitude, and homesickness, the work uses the vastness of oceans and space to illuminate the smallness of humanity and the fragility of our bonds with each other.

The prints are divided into two sets. One is a sequence of a woman turning around in an increasingly figurative landscape. The other depicts planets and alien environments. The icons and gestures, which cross over between the prints and the book, become the intimate language of the characters’, and the audience’s, shared experiences. The solo exhibition culminated my work in the Spudnik Press Artist Residency.


Evanston Art Center (Evanston, IL)
Installed in Kitchen Table Stories, curated by Melissa Raman Molitor

Woodcut prints and graphite on wall

“The Kitchen Table Stories exhibition is a celebration of stories shared by local artists who identify as Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander. Artists were asked to share the stories that have been passed down to them from ancestors through family and friends, and create work that reflects ther own lived experiences. The result is an exploration of the intersections of immigration, citizenship, race, culture, social identity, multigenerational relationships, and family history.
Melissa Raman Molitor, curator

This collection of woodcut prints, Salita, is a personal study of storytelling that nourishes us across generations, geographies, and cultures. The prints depict stories my grandfather told me at dinner when I was growing up—Filipino folktales mixed with his anecdotes—and how he told them—his gestures as he spoke and his words as I remember them. I ate his stories up, until they became part of me. And through these prints, I retell them, and they become part of you.


︎ 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.