Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Mike Stanko on Valentine’s Day

Mike Stanko's art on the cover of the February 5, 2021 Dan's Papers issue.
Mike Stanko's art on the cover of the February 5, 2021 Dan's Papers issue.

Dan’s Papers cover artist favorite Mike Stanko returns for an early Valentine’s Day treat. Stanko talks about love in its many forms and how it can heal the world.

What was the inspiration for this piece?
The inspiration for this piece is simple. Not long ago, I was totally exhausted with everything that was going on in our country—the hate, the fighting, and the complete disarray in the world. While standing in front of my easel ready to start a new painting, and still contemplating the world around me, I realized, just like the song says: “What the world needs now is…LOVE.” And so I made this painting, plain and simple, with love.

Mike Stanko.
Mike Stanko.

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?
Valentine’s Day is a once-a-year opportunity for people who may not normally express it, an excuse to show love, which may be a sad statement. But I am very fortunate to say that my wife Karen and I—we’ve known since we were both 14 years old—are still in love all year long. We enjoy life and we laugh, often at life’s absurdities. We treat each day with each other with respect and care. We are connected.

How do you celebrate your loved ones?
I take my all my relationships, with Karen as well as with all the people I love, my family and close friends, very seriously and loyally. We enjoy each other’s company and have a great time whenever we are/were able to get together, to celebrate our love and friendship…and usually with very nice wine!

Why is love so important, especially in this day and age?
Often, I think that much of the bad in this world is caused by a lack of love. Would some people still be so rotten if they had true love in their lives? Would there be war if the aggressors did share love? Perhaps that is a question for another day. But I am an optimist, maybe because I do feel loved. In today’s climate, I feel more than ever the need for all of us to go out of our way to express, to share, and to communicate love—to show that there is good in this world. As a few great thinkers once sang loud and clear: “All you need is love.” And I totally agree.

See more of Mike Stanko’s work at the Northport Library for the month of February, as well as at stankoart.com and @stankoart on Instagram.

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