Neon Museum Hosts 'Shimmering Zen' North American Book Launch

For the first time in North America, Las Vegas artist James Stanford introduced his book, 'Shimmering Zen' from Smallworks Press at Ne10 Studio, The Neon Museum. The evening was filled with a fabulous discussion between Stanford and Neon Museum President and CEO Rob McCoy. The evening was complete when Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman gave Stanford a special proclamation.

Rob McCoy, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, James Stanford

Rob McCoy, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, James Stanford

James Stanford: Author of Shimmering Zen | Seattle Book Review


This October, photographer and digital artist James Stanford presents the North American launch of his monograph, Shimmering Zen.

Published in a large hardback format, Shimmering Zen is a compilation of digital montages that Stanford has created by layering original photographs of LasVegas landmarks and its iconic neon signs. The monograph presents Stanford’s designs alongside original photographs, elaborating through artist essays on the theory and practice behind his technique.

Heavily influenced by his native Las Vegas, where he is regarded as a leader and pioneer in the ar ts community, Stanford is an innovative digital artist who revisits the vibrant energy of vintage Vegas. A digital painter who transforms his iconic photographs of Las Vegas neon signs and architecture into sumptuous mandalas.

Shimmering Zen reflects Stanford’s continued interest in transforming reality into imagined realms. As an artist, he is concerned with the development of a visual expression of spirituality. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of Buddhism, he conceives of his digital montages as “modern mandalas” – maps towards inner zen. > Read More

Neon Museum Hosts Shimmering Zen Book Launch


For the first time in North America, Las Vegas Artist James Stanford will introduce his book, “Shimmering Zen” from Smallworks Press, at the Neon Museum’s Ne10 Studio on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. Neon Museum President and Chief Executive Officer Rob McCoy will join Stanford for the discussion. A book signing will follow.

A Nevada native and Zen Buddhist, Stanford creates and manipulates digital photographs of vintage Las Vegas neon signs and architectural elements from the 1950s and ‘60s using purpose-specific technology. The resulting conceptually complex and visually captivating images invite contemplation of both spiritual and material realities. Stanford’s work represents an interpretation of the ancient traditions of Buddhism, drawing from historic metaphor, Chinese fable and the aesthetics of the mandala, a ritual and spiritual symbol used in both Buddhism and Hinduism to represent the universe.

“Applying modern technology to images of derelict neon signs, while incorporating the artifice of perfect symmetry, allows me to create these spiritual objects of meditation,” explains Stanford.

A large-format, hardback compilation of 150 of Stanford’s art works created over the last 15 years, “Shimmering Zen” offers insight into the artist’s creative process. In addition to these works, the book includes original images of the signs that inspired him and nostalgic tales of his life growing up in Las Vegas.

“Vintage neon signs inspire people from around the world every day who visit our Neon Museum Boneyard or see our spectacular, augmented-reality experience, ‘Brilliant,’” says McCoy. “We’ve never seen anyone accomplish what James has done, however, with these stunning works of art. They’re absolutely mesmerizing.”

The “Shimmering Zen” North American launch event at Ne10 is free to the public with books available for purchase and signing; a cash bar will also be available.

American artist James Stanford, “The Modern Mandala Maker” to be a featured participant at the 20th anniversary edition of Asian Art in London 2017, November 2nd - November 11th


American artist James Stanford’s visually stunning and intricately constructed modern mandala series, Indra’s Jewels, will be premiered during Asian Art in London 2017. This event brings together over 60 of the world’s top dealers, major auction houses and museums for an annual ten-day celebration of the finest in Asian art. Visitors will converge on London for the 20th anniversary edition, which offers gallery selling exhibitions, auctions, receptions, lectures and seminars.

Stanford is delighted to be a part of this premiere showcase for contemporary and antique Asian art: ‘It is with great pleasure that I agreed to participate in this important event. I hope my work will not only be enjoyable for visitors, but will introduce them to the great diversity of Buddhist-inspired artwork being produced today.’ 

Stanford is a leading contemporary interpreter of the ancient traditions of Buddhism, drawing from historic metaphor, Chinese fable and the aesthetics of the Tibetan mandala. His conceptually complex and visually sumptuous work, in which the mandala functions as a way to contemplate both immaterial and material realities, has attracted significant interest through gallery and museum exhibitions in recent years. 

Stanford’s pictures are distinguished by a series of colourfully illuminated flickering networks and layers. He has earned a reputation for creating work that pulls apart ideas both old and new, producing colourful and mesmerising roundels and boxes of shimmering tones and patterns.

Composed of digital photos of historic Las Vegas neon signage and architectural elements from the 1950s and 1960s, and shot in the Nevada desert, the works have been artfully reconfigured using newly developed, purpose-specific technology. Stanford’s intriguing digital reconfigurations convey and respond to the potency of the mandala as a symbol, and to its influence and importance in Asian culture worldwide. His intensely beautiful and sensual images are sure to inspire awe, pleasure and contemplation. 

The exhibition and selling show will be curated by Elizabeth Herridge, art historian, author, consultant, and former Managing Director of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas, and will take place during Asian Art in London 2017 as part of its programming. There will be an evening event to introduce the artist and his work to the participants of Asian Art in London, as well as to a select audience on Friday, 3 November at The London Library. The exhibition will be held in gallery space at 99 Kensington Church Street and will be a featured participant during the Dealer Open Evening event to be held there on Saturday, 4 November. 

A book entitled Shimmering Zen will be published by Ianthe Press, London and launched to coincide with the exhibition. It will include essays by the artist and the curator, and a foreword by Jeff Rosen, Vice President, The Higher Learning Commission, Evanston, Illinois. Rosen’s book Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘Fancy Subjects’: Photographic allegories of Victorian identity and empire was published recently by Manchester University Press. 

For further information, please contact:;