"Shimmering Zen" by James Stanford
Vintage Las Vegas Neon signs make Modern Mandalas in James Stanford's new book, Shimmering Zen
Shimmering Zen is a compilation of 150 of Stanford's works created over the last fifteen years published in large hardback format. Composed of digital photos of historic Las Vegas neon signage and architectural elements found in the 1950s and 1960s, and shot in the Mojave Desert, Stanford artfully creates mesmerizing designs using newly developed purpose specific technology.
Stanford's group of intriguing digital montages convey and respond to the potency of the mandala as a symbol, and it's influence and importance to Asian culture worldwide.
The artist's process is spiritual as much as it is artistic. Informed by the practices and beliefs of Zen Buddhism, Stanford believes his work really came to life with his spiritual practice and the seminal influence of his Las Vegas upbringing.
How to approach a mandala:
- Is all about not knowing how to view a mandala, but viewing it anyway
- Apprehend the mandala lightly, like you are holding a butterfly
- Attitude is everything when viewing a 'jewel of Indra'
- If you are grasping or impatient, you are killing the experience
- Breathe in and out. Attend to your breath
- we enter the realm of the mandala with our eyes floating on the wind of our breath
- Pure awareness - that is what our consciousness is
- Dont' know' is the only mindset. See where wonderment takes you
- We are the universe's way of knowing itself
Stanford came from a painting background but found collage, montage, and photography enhanced the visualization process, and digital technology allowed him to create innovative techniques like layering and mirroring that give his mandalas their transcendental, kaleidoscope quality.
Shimmering Zen is published by Lanthe Press Limited: London. Shimmering Zen includes essays by the artist, the curator, Elizabeth Herridge, and foreword by Jeff Rosen, Vice President, The Higher Learning Commission, Evanston, Illinois. The Book offers an insight into Stanford's creative process and inspiration allied with original images of the signs, and accompanied by nostalgic tales of his Las Vegas life, including being on the set of Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley and Anne-Margaret.
The book is available to buy at shimmeringzen.com