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Gazing Into Zen in Las Vegas | UNLV

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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

Different Way to View Las Vegas with Shimmering Zen

Aladdin (Detail)

Aladdin (Detail)

Heavily influenced by his native Las Vegas roots and surroundings, Stanford is an innovative artist who revisits the vibrant energy of 1960s Vegas with this collection. Entitled Shimmering Zen, he will feature a range of intricate digital collages of original photographs that capture the city’s iconic aesthetic and particularly its neon signs. Some of the pieces include The Neon Museum, Fremont Street, Fong’s Garden and the Circus Circus, Flamingo, Golden Nugget, Tropicana, Caesars Palace and Binion’s properties.

Stanford’s use of traditional photography and digital techniques make his Shimmering Zen work unique and compelling. Drawing on his expertise as a painter, photographer, professor of colour theory and pioneering advocate of new technologies in digital art, he layers photographs to create and discover patterns in familiar, yet completely revitalised, images with bold colors and intricate patterns that create mesmerising designs.

Shimmering Zen also 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 the ancient traditions of Buddhism, he conceives his digital montages as “modern mandalas” – maps toward inner zen. His work responds to the potency of the “mandala” as a symbol and its influence and importance to cultures worldwide.

> Read More