Mike Stanko Sticks to His Iconic Style for Memorial Day Issue Cover Art

May 26, 2023 Dan's Papers cover art by Mike Stanko
May 26, 2023 Dan’s Papers cover art by Mike Stanko

Returning for another Memorial Day issue cover is Long Island artist Mike Stanko. Here, he discusses his LI-inspired paintings, his distinct art style and his summer exhibitions.

Stanko in the studio
Stanko in the studioRick Wenner

A Conversation with Mike Stanko

What inspired you to create “Beach Chairs,” and does the painting represent a specific beach?

Anyone familiar with my work is aware of my love for Long Island, especially its surrounding waters and beaches. I’ve painted so many beach chair scenes over the years — I change up the backgrounds or chair colors, or add an umbrella or two. These scenes are often inspired by Montauk, or by Jones Beach and Long Beach, my other two favorites. These paintings reflect the world that makes many of us proud to call Long Island home.

Mike Stanko's "Crab" (acrylic, 18" x 24")
Mike Stanko’s “Crab” (acrylic, 18″ x 24″)

How was this piece created, and how long did it take?

Like all of my work, this piece is acrylic on canvas, and may come from my imagination, or from my photos. Detailed paintings can take a couple of weeks to complete, but the starker pieces — like this one — take less time.

How has Long Island, especially the East End, influenced you as an artist?

Having spent a lifetime visiting the East End, we have lots of friends, old and new, out there. And we’ve become familiar with the natural beauty, the galleries and, of course, the food. So it’s a no-brainer that the area provides me with endless inspiration.

Mike Stanko's "Wet Side Story" (acrylic, 24" x 30")
Mike Stanko’s “Wet Side Story” (acrylic, 24″ x 30″)Courtesy Mike Stanko

Would you say that your art style is still evolving or mostly established?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I can tell a ‘Stanko’ as soon as I see one!” It appears my style must be rather distinct and recognizable, and I honestly feel lucky for that. My subjects and/or the amount of detail in each work may change, but I have a feeling that this “Stanko” style is here to stay! And I’m comfortable with that.

What upcoming art events, exhibitions or other projects are you working toward now?

In addition to two just-finished major commissions to be unveiled in the upcoming months, I will be exhibiting at Swing the Teapot in Floral Park, tentatively in July; at Standard Pour in Valley Stream in September; and at the Huntington Library this November. Now that things are “getting back to normal,” I’m always planning something that can be seen on my event page at stankoart.com.

Mike Stanko's "An American in Paris" (acrylic, 24" x 36")
Mike Stanko’s “An American in Paris” (acrylic, 24″ x 36″)Courtesy Mike Stanko

Do you care to share any closing thoughts?

Once again, I’d like to thank Dan’s for putting my work on the cover, something that’s always an honor. And, of course, I’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe summer, whether it’s here on Long Island, or wherever your next adventure may be. Please follow me: @stankoart on Instagram and “Mike Stanko” on Facebook. Happy trails!