• Amber James

Professor Turned Author: Chester Alamo-Costello Releases New Book

Being a professor can provide a workload that many may find difficult, especially when balancing other tasks. Throw in writing a book and the load gets even heavier. That’s exactly what Art & Design Professor Chester Alamo-Costello, a professor here at the University of St. Francis (USF), did.

This will be Alamo-Costello’s third book, according to the University of St. Francis website. His book titled, “Somewhere In-Between Chicago,” has been in progress for some time, according to a press release provided by the university.

He has documented the people, places and experiences he’s encountered, while also keeping meticulous journals, for more than 30 years. This book includes a collection of materials produced over 25 of those years, between 1993 and 2018.

According to the university’s website, Alamo-Costello said, “I’ve organized the portraits in the book so that you initially view younger people, then as the book progresses you will notice that the subject’s age increases.” He continued, “Even the design and pagination is deliberate and reflects the seasons encountered in Chicago and the Midwest.”

One of the portraits included in his book is about a man named James Flynn. According to Alamo-Costello, “James Flynn hangs out at the Dunkin’ Donuts at Dearborn and Jackson. James is always dressed in colorful three-piece suit, with a cane and fedora. He commands attention. I’ve made his portrait on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) a handful of times. His outward appearance looks intimidating, but he’s the gentlest soul one can ever meet.”

Alamo-Costello, according to www.stfrancis.edu started his artistic journey by studying graphic design, painting and photography at the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was then hired to teach at the University of St. Francis in 1999. During this time, an art and design program was “essentially nonexistent” at the University of St. Francis, according to Alamo-Costello. So, he fortunately was given the freedom and support to develop a program that fit the culture of the university while maintaining a critical approach that is often found at larger schools.

Having a heavy art and design focus both in and out of the classroom makes the portraits featured in Alamo-Costello’s book all the more important to him. “It’s really always about the student’s success.We want all of them to be lifelong learners and contribute to society in a positive way,” he said within the University of St. Francis press release.

Former student of Professor Alamo-Costello, Katie Wozniak, said, “I think it is such a great achievement for a professor at our university to have written his third book. I had Professor Costello for a class and it is interesting to be able to put a face to a name, especially when it is someone who is considered to be an author.”

Alamo-Costello is currently working on a series of videos that will bring imagery from the book to life, with sound arrangements by roughly 12 Chicago bands. The videos, according to www.stfrancis.edu, may be released over the summer.

In the meantime, curious minds can find “Somewhere In-Between Chicago” and Alamo-

Costello’s other two books on Amazon here.

Photos courtesy of stfrancis.edu and amazon.com

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