Valley Stream artist ‘decks the walls’ at Sip This


“Every one of my paintings has a story behind it,” said local artist Michael Stanko at the reception on Dec. 8 for his latest gallery display at Valley Stream’s Sip This.

From an aluminum lunch tray packed with peas and carrots, to abstract floral designs and snow-covered landscapes of Valley Stream landmarks, Stanko’s work covers a wide swath.

“I paint many, many things,” he said. “ … People ask me, ‘where do you get your influences from?’ I say, ‘my lunch, my sneakers, fishing.’”

Stanko, 62, is a lifelong Valley Stream resident, and on display at the coffee shop is an assortment of his work — dubbed Stanko’s “Deck the Walls” — that includes winter-themed depictions of places such as Central High School, Ancona’s Pizza and Valley Stream State Park, but the chief inspiration for the show, he said, was to mark the 38th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon.

“My wife and I are huge John Lennon fans,” he said of his spouse, Karen. “So that’s why we did it today.”

Stanko said he has been painting for more than 30 years, at first, for the simple fun of it, but after some time, people started taking an interest, and asked to purchase his work and commission him for specific pieces. His paintings have been frequently featured at Sip This.

“He’s a bit of a legend,” said Maggie Delollis, who noted that she has seven of his works hanging in her home, including a floral piece that adorns the wall of her living room, which she decided to reproduce in cake form for the reception.

“I decided to immortalize it in a cake,” she joked. “So you can have your Stanko and eat it too.”

Stanko’s “Deck the Walls” will be on display at Sip This until Dec. 30.