Our Memorial Day issue cover comes to us from longtime Dan’s Papers artist Mike Stanko. Here, he discusses painting in honor of this reverential holiday, summer inspirations and goals, and more.
A CHAT WITH MIKE STANKO
Tell us about our Memorial Day cover art.
The painting is titled “Poppies on the Beach.” And although this work depicts the beach in Montauk, the beaches of Normandy — and all the history — were obviously the influence. I intended this painting to commemorate the sacrifice of all the many men and women who have given their lives fighting for our country.
This isn’t your first Dan’s Papers Memorial Day cover. Would you say painting something in honor of the holiday has become a tradition or do you paint similar works regularly?
I guess it’s a bit of a tradition; as I paint all the time, my mind constantly wanders for new ideas, while keeping upcoming holidays in mind. As a proud American, I greatly appreciate what so many people do to protect our freedom, and I feel that paintings such as this one honors them with a thank you.
Is there anyone in particular that you try to honor on Memorial Day?
In addition to everyone who puts their lives on the line every day, including all the first responders, I really want to honor my mother’s younger brother who lost his life when his plane was shot down during World War II. Though I never met Uncle Frankie, I always think of him during this holiday, and all the years of heartache his loss brought to my family.
How do your inspirations and/or creative process change as the weather gets warmer?
My process doesn’t change very much, but I must admit when spending more time out in Montauk, loving the water, devouring the Clam Bar’s lobster rolls, and jelly croissants from the Montauk Bakery, I’m surrounded by quite a lot of warm weather influences that are sure to inspire new works!
What is one artistic hope or goal you have for this summer?
In addition to some domestic traveling this year, this is it: To be on a Dan’s Papers cover, celebrating another upcoming summer!
Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks?
I have a new piece in Member Artist Showcase at The Mills Pond Gallery in St. James, opening on June 4. My work can also be seen online at stankoart.com and at “Stanko” on Instagram and Facebook.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional info?
Though this weekend commemorates somber events, it’s still the unofficial start of summer. I wish everyone out there a happy and safe weekend, AND I’d like to thank Dan’s in particular for once again celebrating this special weekend with my painting on the cover. Enjoy, everyone!
See more art by Mike Stanko at stankoart.com.