NEON MUSEUM TO HOST LAUNCH OF JAMES STANFORD’S “SHIMMERING ZEN”
Artist’s Digitally Rendered Mandalas Based on Photographs of Historic
Las Vegas Signs and Structures
LAS VEGAS (August 2018) – 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.
ABOUT JAMES STANFORD
Washington (MFA) and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) (BFA) and also practices photography, digital illustration and drawing. Dedicated to creativity and the fine arts, he has taught at UNLV and UW, established the Smallworks Gallery/Lost Vegas, and curated exhibitions at various venues, including the Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Center. Stanford also served as the Arts Commission Chairman of the City of Las Vegas and later President of the Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Center. Stanford’s recent exhibition at Asia Art in London and the release of his book, Shimmering Zen, at The London Library, to create new and innovative art. Due to the success of Shimmering Zen, he has further broadened the scope Smallworks Press, a small publishing company specializing in books on arts and culture. He currently lives and works in Las Vegas.
ABOUT THE NEON MUSEUM
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. It has been named “Best Museum” by Las Vegas Weekly, one of “Sin City’s Best Retro Sites” by MSN, “No. 1 Las Vegas Museum Sure to Entertain and Educate” by USAToday’s 10best.com, “One of the Top 10 Coolest Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do” by Forbes.com, one of the “Top 10 Historic Spots in Las Vegas” by Vegas.com; one of “15 Most Fascinating Museums in the U.S.” by VacationIdea.com; and earns a consistent 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor. On its 2.27-acre campus, the Neon Museum houses an outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard (“boneyard” is traditionally the name for an area where items no longer in use are stored); the North Gallery, home to the nighttime augmented-reality, audiovisual spectacle, “Brilliant!”; the new Boulevard Gallery outdoor exhibit and event space; and its visitors’ center, housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby. The museum collection also includes nine restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas and one restored sign on view at the outdoor Fashion Show Plaza on the Las Vegas Strip. Public education, outreach, research, archival preservation and a grant-funded neon sign survey represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors’ Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas.