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.