James Stanford was born in Las Vegas, Nevada when it was a still just a small desert town. Stanford was one of the first BFA graduates from UNLV. In 1973 he received his MFA in Painting from The University Of Washington. After graduate school he dealt Blackjack and taught art classes at UNLV and Community College of Southern Nevada. Stanford considers his years as a twenty one dealer in Las Vegas to be the equivalent of a PhD.
James Stanford has curated many shows both for non-profit organizations, and his own galleries, Smallworks Gallery and Lost Vegas Gallery. He has a gift for seeing and appreciating the talents of other artists, and enjoys collecting and promoting their work. Stanford is currently serving the City of Las Vegas as the chairman of the Las Vegas Arts Commission. James originated Lightscapes, an international digital art competition which gives artists the opportunity to create experimental programs for the amazing Fremont Street Experience Light Canopy in downtown Las Vegas. Lightscapes II is coming in November of 2001.
As a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, his years of introspection and practice have cleared two distinct paths of artistic expression and exploration. Sometimes he finds that abstraction is more satisfying and revelatory, while other times a more representational approach serves a particular insight. Stanford has always chaffed at the idea that serious investigation can only be achieved through limiting one's self to a single style. To Stanford, the nature of the idea determines the approach to it.
"Dependence on a single style is often an unconditional surrender to one's own limitations. I'd rather fight through those limits on self and style. If I am weak at something, I seek to improve myself. Not only do I like to think that I am always growing as an artist, but I like to believe that something in the process makes me become more than what I think I am. "
"I sometimes feel challenged by those ideas that seem foreign to me, and I work with those concepts until they become comfortable to me. Then I move on. Any challenge that holds my interest is worth pursuing. Any idea that gets me into the studio is a good idea."
'"The joy and immense suffering of humanity is what compels and enthralls me. Painting as a vehicle for change is my goal. It is all worth doing even if it turns out that I am the only one who is changed by the experience".