Coin Castle by Las Vegas artist James Stanford has been created through innovative purpose-specific digital technology and influenced by Zen Buddhism. It is featured in the new Shimmering Zen book.

“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,” says James Stanford of his vintage Las Vegas neon signs and landmarks work in his new Shimmering Zen photography book.


For the first time in North America, Las Vegas artist James Stanford will introduce his photography book, “Shimmering Zen,” which features a unique interpretation of vintage Las Vegas neon signs and architectural elements through innovative purpose-specific digital technology and Zen Buddhism. The book is being published by Smallworks Press, a specialty arts and publication company.

Stanford is a Las Vegas native and Zen Buddhist and combines his love of the city – particularly from the 1950s and 1960s – and philosophy with art for conceptually complex and visually captivating images that invite contemplation of both spiritual and material realities. His 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.

The Shimmering Zen book launch, discussion and reception will be at the Neon Museum’s Ne10 Studio in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. The nonprofit museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. Neon Museum President and Chief Executive Officer Rob McCoy will join Stanford in the discussion. A book signing will follow, and a portion of book sales will be donated to the museum.

“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. “When you open up your mind, you become so full of this one vision, everything becomes pure energy, pure light. That’s Shimmering Zen. And incorporating iconic Las Vegas images for their beauty, uniqueness and historical significance in the city and my life makes this book even more special.”

“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.”

A large-format, hardback compilation of 150 of Stanford’s art works created during the last 15 years, “Shimmering Zen” offers insight into the artist’s creative process. In addition, the book includes original images of the signs that inspired him and nostalgic tales of his life growing up in Las Vegas.

Shimmering Zen premiered at the 20th Anniversary of Asia Art in London, the global hub of Asian contemporary art and antiquities featuring more than 60 of the world’s top dealers, major auction houses and museums for an annual 10-day celebration of the finest in Asian art.

Shimmering Zen is being distributed through Midpoint, a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group. The book is available through Amazon and Smallworks Press.

A companion Shimmering Zen exhibit recently opened at The Studio at the Sahara West Library, also in Las Vegas, and runs through Nov. 24. It features 46 works Stanford created during the past 20 years. Stanford also has included new works inspired by his recent visit to London, such as a large scale triptych (96’’ X 192’’) printed on metal and composed of three mirrored montages featuring Buckingham Palace, entitled Trioca Pentaptyc.

The “Shimmering Zen” North American launch event is free to the public with books available for purchase and signing; a cash bar will also be available. The Ne10 Studio is located at 1001 W. Bonanza Road, Las Vegas, Nev., 89106. For information, visit or

About James Stanford
An international exhibiting artist, James Stanford graduated with painting degrees at the University of Washington (UW) with a Master of Fine Arts and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, 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 chairman of the Arts Commission 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, further showcases his ability to create new and innovative art. Due to the success of Shimmering Zen, he has further broadened the scope Smallworks Press, an independent publishing company specializing in books on arts and culture. He currently lives and works in Las Vegas. For information, visit or or call 702-524-1019.

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, “One of the Top 10 Coolest Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do” by, one of the “Top 10 Historic Spots in Las Vegas” by; one of “15 Most Fascinating Museums in the U.S.” by; 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. Click here for tour schedules and pricing information. Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Smallworks Press
Founded in 2006, Smallworks Press specializes in arts and culture publications and treats each book with a commitment to impeccable production, design and marketing. With more than 100 years of collective experiences, the Smallworks Press team has enjoyed collaborating with a wide-spectrum of artists, authors and talent to create works with beautiful chromatic illustrations and stimulating interpretation with the finest print quality. Smallworks Press has fulfillment thru Midpoint (North America), a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group, and CBL Distribution (United Kingdom). For information, visit, email [email protected] or call 702-577-6592.

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