Chester Alamo-Costello (born 1967) is an American artist, educator, publisher and writer based in Chicago, Illinois. He is most known for his long-running, international “Art Drop” series (1998– ), which place art into non-traditional settings, such as public parks, and for his photographic books, whose work has been noted for its rawness and everyday immediacy. He has primarily shown his work in the public domain in countries throughout Europe, the United States and Canada; he has also had exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Hyde Park Art Center. His photography and projects have been reviewed or published in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune Magazine, De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), The Globe and Mail (Canada), New Art Examiner, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Magazine, Nerve, and on Chicago Public Radio. Alamo-Costello’s books of photography, art and writing include: Somewhere In-Between Chicago (2018), The Globe (2010), and Grandpa Danny (2008). Alamo-Costello is also the publisher of, and a contributor to, The COMP Magazine, a digital art and design journal. He is a Professor and former Chair of the Department of Art and Design at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.
Alamo-Costello was born Michael Christopher Costello in 1967 in Indianapolis to a blue-collar family that valued practical skills. After developing an interest in art and graduating from Southport High School, he studied graphic design, painting and photography at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI in Indianapolis (BFA, 1990). He moved to Chicago in 1993, and initially photographed artists, musicians, and transients while living in a warehouse district on the city’s South Side, near Chinatown. In 1994, he enrolled in graduate school at Columbia College Chicago (MFA, 1998), where he studied with photographers Bob Thall and Melissa Ann Pinney, and painter Corey Postiglione. While continuing to create art, he began his teaching career at Columbia, until he accepted a position at University of St. Francis in 1999. Alamo-Costello lives and works in Chicago with wife, Sandy.