Gazing Into Zen in Las Vegas | UNLV


The Abstract Mandalas of UNLV Alumnus James Stanford Demand Close Inspection. A New Art Book Collects His Works.

Rather than seeing Las Vegas as culturally vacant, James Stanford looks around him and sees artistic opportunity.

One of the UNLV alumnus’ endeavors involves taking photographs of many of Las Vegas’ iconic neon signs and architecture and using them as the basis of new works of art.

After years of photographing such images, Stanford began using his graphic arts skills to turn those photographs into mandalas, which he describes as visual works of art that take you into higher consciousness.

He describes his work as “complex and meditative.”

He said he “opens his mind to meditation and asks the universe, ‘What is going on here?’ (The answer) seems to be revealed through my work.” > Read More

‘Zen City’: Artist James Stanford Turns Las Vegas Glitz into ‘Object of Spiritual Reverie’ | Luxury Las Vegas Magazine

Old Tropicana

Old Tropicana

The images created by James Stanford are mesmerizing. Built upon photographs of iconic — and often long-gone — Las Vegas signs and scenery layered upon one another, the photo collages resemble mandalas, representations of the universe found in Buddhism.

And if using images of Las Vegas’ glitz to create almost spiritual iconography doesn’t represent a melding of the sacred and the profane, what would?

Stanford is a native Las Vegan and pioneering local artist whose latest exhibition, “Shimmering Zen,” highlights his nearly 40 years of work creating photo collages that become more than mere visual trickery. > 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.