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

Binions (Detail)

Binions (Detail)

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.

The show, which debuted in London last year, will run Sept. 21 through Nov. 24 in The Studio at the Sahara West Library. A hardback book featuring 150 of Stanford’s images also will be unveiled Oct. 13 at the Neon Museum, and images by Stanford have been incorporated into a fashion show in New York City by Las Vegas-based designer David Tupaz.

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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.

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