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

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.

︎ 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.