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Saturday, May 28, 2016
Artist shares his love of Valley Stream
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Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Mike Stanko, a lifelong resident of Valley Stream, has his artwork on his display at Sip This for the next month which includes many scenes of the community such as Central High School.

Every painting has a description about why the scene is important to Stanko. He noted a picture of the White Castle in Lynbrook. While it’s not a Valley Stream scene, Stanko noted that it was a popular late night hang out for him and his friends while growing up in Valley Stream. “A lot of people relate to some of the stories,” he said.

Stanko describes his style as “pop realism.” He uses acrylic paint and said he never mixes colors. He also wants his paintings to be a real as possible, and often will work off of a photograph he takes of a scene, but then gives it a whimsical touch.

He said an average painting takes about a week to do, and he creates more than 30 pieces of artwork in a year — often while his wife, Karen, is playing piano in the background. Stanko has hundreds of paintings in a storage facility on Merrick Road, but said he would rather that people enjoy his artwork, which is why he was excited about his show at Sip This.

Stanko’s first steps as an artist were taken at the Wheeler Avenue School. As a child, he loved to scribble and his first real drawing was an aerial view of Shea Stadium he made when he was 8. At Central, he took classes such as studio art and painting and drawing, and was heavily influenced by his teacher, Mrs. Hayden.

In college, Stanko said he didn’t pursue art, but rather focused more on music and was in a band. It was after college his love for the visual arts resumed and he hasn’t put down his brush since.

When he’s not painting, Stanko delivers Boar’s Head cold cuts on a delivery route he owns in Queens and Nassau.

Sabatino said about 200 current and former Valley Streamers turned out last Saturday night at the opening reception for Stanko’s art show, which continues through Jan. 4.

“This show is out of my love for Valley Stream,” Stanko said. “When I was putting this show together, I was going ‘What is really Valley Stream?’”


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