James Stanford

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James Stanford
Born (1948-04-11)11 April 1948
Las Vegas, Nevada
Known for photography and contemporary art

James Stanford is an American contemporary artist, photographer, and small press publisher based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is best known for his work with vintage and historical Las Vegas marquees and signage[1] and also for his leadership in the development of the Las Vegas arts community.[2][3]

Education and Background[edit]

Born in Las Vegas in 1948, Stanford attended the original 7th Street campus of Las Vegas High School from 1964-1966.

In 1971, Stanford earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He later attended the University of Washington, Seattle, earning a 1973 Master of Fine Arts in Painting.

In 1978, he returned to the UNLV campus as an instructor in the Fine Arts Department.

In 1985, Stanford received his Fresco Painting Apprenticeship under the instruction of Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Pope Dimitroff, College of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Las Vegas and International Arts Community[edit]

Stanford is a recognized leader and pioneer[4] of the Las Vegas arts community. He served the City of Las Vegas as Chairman of its Arts Commission from 1999 to 2001, at which time he developed the Downtown Las Vegas "Lightscapes" installation, cited by Art in America[5] as one of the top 20 public art projects of the era.

Stanford also served as President of the Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Collective (popularly known as The CAC; later renamed as Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Center).[6] His Presidency ran from 1996 to 1999.[7] In his time with the CAC, Stanford curated numerous exhibits and organized the collective's day-to-day operations.[8][9][10]

In 2007, Stanford---with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, among others---was part of an important round-table event to discuss the future of the Las Vegas Arts District[11] and the First Friday venue.[12]

Stanford's artistic works had gallery representation via Trifecta Gallery Las Vegas until the gallery's closure in 2015.[13]

In 2017, Stanford exhibited Shimmering Zen curated by Elizabeth Herridge Limited during Asian Art in London in conjunction with a book of the same title at the prestigious The London Library.[14][15] [16]


In 1998, Stanford co-created Las Vegas-based Smallworks Gallery.[17] He also created Smallworks Press, a publishing company specializing in arts and culture publications. With distribution thru Midpoint (North America), a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group, and CBL Distribution (UK), Smallworks Press treats each book with a commitment to impeccable production, design and marketing.

Indra's Jewels[edit]

Stanford's Indra's Jewels series has received wide exhibition and critical praise.[18][19] Based on the principals of Zen Buddhism,[20][21] the series uses digital and traditional techniques to realize historic Las Vegas signage and neon as complicated mandala patterns.[22]

In 2016, Los Angeles art critic and curator Mat Gleason reviewed Stanford's Indra's Jewels and related work in The Huffington Post, stating, "It is in the eternal nature of the multiple reflection that this artist has delivered the ultimate rendering of the Vegas experience without resorting to dated design motifs."[23]

In 2017, Stanford exhibited the Indra’s Jewels series during his Shimmering Zen exhibition at Asian Art in London 2017,[24][25][26] His accompanying book entitled Shimmering Zen[27]was released at The London Library[28]and is part of the library’s permanent collection.[29] A book review by Juxtapoz Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief Evan Pricco[30] states, “Stanford’s modern take on the mandala creates a stream of dreamlike experiences, abstract but with tiny details that begin to look like familiar sites in every day life."[31]

In 2018, Stanford will be recognized as a late-career artist for his photo-montage work[32][33][34]and is a contributor to many art publications[35]. The Shimmering Zen exhibition travels to The Studio, Sahara West Library[36]and the North American book launch will be held at The Neon Museum in Fall.

Zen Garden Las Vegas[edit]

Drawing upon his Buddhist and artistic backgrounds, Stanford and his wife, Lynn Morris, purchased a group of Las Vegas property in 2008 where they created The Zen Center of Las Vegas.[37]

Currently known as Zen Garden Las Vegas,[38] the 1.3 acres grounds were hand-designed by Stanford and its extensive gardens were created in collaboration with National Public Radio horticulturalist Norm Schilling.`



  1. ^ "Finding Infinite Symmetry Through Las Vegas Signage And A Hindu/Buddhist Metaphor". lasvegasweekly.com. March 12, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Arts District Gets Its Art Museum". dtlv.com. November 14, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  3. ^ "Lvegue Issue jan 2018". Issuu. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  4. ^ "18x18: The Pioneers of the Arts District - Jim Stanford". youtube.com. January 8, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "Lightscapes". lvartscommission.com. March 25, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  6. ^ "Contemporary Arts Collective (Las Vegas)". vikingu.es. May 12, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  7. ^ "CAC Offers a Portrait of a Fund-Raiser". lasvegassun.com. November 15, 1996. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  8. ^ "California Arts Council Artist Call". cac.ca.gov. January 30, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  9. ^ "Artists Enjoy Clothes-Horsing Around For Wearable Art Exhibit". lasvegassun.com. March 6, 1997. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  10. ^ "Gallery Hopping: Las Vegas' 6 Best Art Spaces | sbe.com". sbe.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  11. ^ "Rethinking The Arts District: 13 Insiders Comment on Our Cultural 'Standstill' and Forecast the Fate of 18B" (PDF). mcqfineart.com. November 1, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "The Many Facets of James Stanford". Issuu. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  13. ^ "Indra's Jewels". trifectagallery.com. March 6, 2014. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  14. ^ "Imperica - James Stanford: Shimmering Zen". www.imperica.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  15. ^ BeautifulNow. "Shimmering Neon Mandalas! | James Stanford | BeautifulNow". BeautifulNow. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  16. ^ "Shimmering Zen, A new solo exhibition by James Stanford". Create! Magazine. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  17. ^ "Smallworks, Big Dreams". lasvegassun.com. March 13, 1998. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  18. ^ "More Signs of Signage as Art". paintthisdesert.com. March 18, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  19. ^ "ARTslant Street: James Stanford". artslantstreet.com. March 1, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  20. ^ "Gorgeous, Buddhist-Themed Art Exhibits". lionsroar.com. March 14, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  21. ^ "Nexus of Creativity". Issuu. July 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  22. ^ Swenson, Eric Minh (2017-10-18), James Stanford: Modern Mandalas, retrieved 2018-07-30
  23. ^ "The Sensory Overload of James Stanford". The Huffington Post. March 18, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  24. ^ "James Stanford: Contemporary Buddhist Art". Asian Art in London. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  25. ^ "essence 86". Issuu. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  26. ^ "Check out some contemporary Buddhist art, featuring modern mandalas at this new exhibition. - FAD Magazine". FAD Magazine. 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  27. ^ ""Shimmering Zen" by James Stanford". NOICE | Photography and Art Publication. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  28. ^ "Shimmering Zen | Book Launch - Talk at The London Library in London". ArtRabbit. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  29. ^ Watkins, Kitty. "Member's Books". www.londonlibrary.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  30. ^ "Influential Voices: An Interview with Evan Pricco of Juxtapoz". BOOOOOOOM!. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  31. ^ "Winter 2018 #204". shop.juxtapoz.com. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  32. ^ "Best Visual Artist You Might Not Know: James Stanford". LasVegasWeekly.com. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  33. ^ "An Interview with James Stanford, Creator of "Shimmering Zen," On His Journey From Painter to Image Maker - Resource". resourcemagonline.com. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  34. ^ "James Stanford's Shimmering Zen of the Mandala". IdeelArt.com. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  35. ^ "147 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything". digitalcameraworld. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  36. ^ "Shimmering Zen". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  37. ^ "Rooms for Spiritual Practice". reviewjournal.com. April 10, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  38. ^ "Zen Garden Las Vegas". zengardenlasvegas.com. December 1, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  39. ^ "Shimmering Zen". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  40. ^ Martin, Kasio. "The Neon Museum Las Vegas | Guided Tours Available Daily - Blue Angel". www.neonmuseum.org. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  41. ^ "Neon Museum offers up-close look at Fremont's iconic Blue Angel". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2018-05-26. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  42. ^ Wade, Carla (2018-05-28). "Blue Angel Motel sign exhibit brings back childhood memories for locals". KTNV. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  43. ^ "The iconic Blue Angel to visit the Neon Museum". LasVegasSun.com. 2018-05-12. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  44. ^ "Return of the Blue Angel". Nevada Public Radio. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  45. ^ Rodgers, Lissa Townsend. "Las Vegas' Iconic Blue Angel Gets a New Home". Culture Trip. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  46. ^ "Imperica". asianartinlondon.com. November 3, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  47. ^ "Artist Reception at Red Barn". pahrumpvalleytimes.com. August 29, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  48. ^ "Sense of Place: Two Photo Exhibits Reimagine the Desert Around Us". lasvegasweekly.com. October 17, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  49. ^ "Uncle Jack's Very Vintage Vegas – Mid Century Modern Homes, Historic Las Vegas Neighborhoods, Las Vegas History and Urban Living by Jack LeVine – Las Vegas News Bureau Stages 2 Photo Exhibitions In The Arts District". veryvintagevegas.com. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  50. ^ "Showing James Stanford's 'Wonder'". americantowns.com. October 25, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2015.

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