Popular East End painter and Dan’s Papers cover artist Mike Stanko is back for our December 10, 2021 issue with a festive cover featuring the Montauk Lighthouse lit for the holiday season. Here, he chats about creating this piece, fond holiday memories and seasonal inspirations.
What is the name of this festive piece, and what inspired it?
My love of the holiday season and its traditions inspired my “Montauk Lighthouse Lights” painting, and, of course, those traditions include the grand annual lighting of the beloved lighthouse. Once Thanksgiving hits, followed by my December birthday, everything — including my work — is ready to celebrate!
Tell us about the creation process of this piece: colors chosen, composition, etc.
Though I’ve painted the lighthouse a number of times, I just thought it would be fun to recreate it in its holiday glory. I considered a variety of options to position the lighthouse, and thought this view showed it off at its winter nightfall best.
What is your favorite memory from the annual lighting of the Montauk Lighthouse or other East End holiday lightings?
The lightings of the lighthouse and that of my other favorite East End icon, The Big Duck, symbolize the festive start of the holiday season. Between the lighting, the crowds of happy smiles with the excitement of the season — and maybe some mulled wine — are favorite memories that keep getting merrier.
What are you most looking forward to or find most exciting about the 2021 holiday season?
Although (my wife) Karen and I are fully vaccinated and boostered, we’re still playing it safe while looking forward to getting back to a little normalcy. Unlike last year where we celebrated alone, this year we are having some family and friends over for holiday cheer, along with Karen at the piano for a lively sing-along!
In what ways do your creative inspiration and art production change this time of year?
My work really is influenced by the seasons. In the fall, I find myself painting with a more autumnal flair of colors, while in winter I use more blues, whites and grays. My production rarely changes. I get up very early in the morning, make coffee and head into the studio for hours.
Do you have any unique gift ideas for Mike Stanko fans?
Funny you should ask! In addition to having original paintings for sale, “Stanko Merch” is now available from Fine Art America (search “Mike Stanko” on the Fine Art America site, or follow the link on the stankoart.com site to mike-stanko.pixels.com. You’ll find a wide variety of fun items with the images of my paintings, including prints, mugs, t-shirts, ornaments, etc.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts?
I’d just like to wish everyone at Dan’s, and everyone reading this, a very, very happy holiday season — and let’s hope that 2022 is good to us all.