Who are you?
I am James Stanford, I’m a 70 year old artist, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Who was your biggest influencer?
My oldest brother graduated from the University of Nevada with a degree in fine art in 1953. Although he was 18 years older than I, he became a great influence on me. I made up my mind at an early age that I would become an artist too. I grew up surrounded by all of my brother Jerry’s art work, his charcoal studies of plaster casts, his life drawings, and his paintings and sculptures. His work was a true inspiration to me.
What marked the beginning in your digital art career?
In 1986, I formed my own graphics studio. It was through this transition that I discovered digital art. I started the first graphics studio in Las Vegas to make the transformation from traditional skills to Macintosh computers. By 1987 we had abandoned chemical typesetting and copy cameras and had entered the world of Photoshop and Illustrator. I had been using my camera to gather images that I thought I might someday be able to incorporate into my paintings. Without realizing it, I had built up quite a body of photographs. By 1993, I began to concentrate on the digital montage. Soon I discovered that there were many ways to print my digital montages.
What artistic themes did you want to focus on?
Through my progress as a practitioner of Zen Buddhism I soon discovered what I wanted to explore. Mandala had always interested me. I loved exploring mirrored images. Symmetry had been so difficult to create outside of the copy camera. So, I began to explore the forbidden and formerly impossible world of Perfect Symmetry. Infinitely repeatable patterns became a metaphor for Indra’s Jeweled Net, an ancient description of this holographic universe that we discover when we look within ourselves.
Where do you look and what do you look for when creating your images?
I realized that it was all happening right in front of me. This self-awareness helped me to overcome all doubt. Why not examine what is close at hand? Las Vegas, my home town, was certainly worthy of exploration. What better place to explore Pop Culture than in this city of neon signage? And, where better to explore oneself than the Mojave Desert?
What is it like to be a Nevada Artist?
Well, being an artist in the State of Nevada can be a challenging and very lonely endeavor. I realized in a very practical way that Nevada artists needed more venues to show their work. I have spent my life not only making art, but I have also devoted myself to serving my art local community. In the early 90’s I began to pour myself into helping the newly formed Contemporary Arts Collective in Las Vegas. I can truly say from experience that there is no greater joy than helping other artists to create a more nurturing environment for the benefit of all artists.
We Nevada artists need more places to show our work. I think that there is a paucity of space dedicated to performance, installation and alternative work. We need to work harder to help each other out. Most importantly, Las Vegas now needs a major art museum.