Enlightened Art: From Paper to the Streets

Imagine walking down the street and BAM! You see a huge mural of Dorje Shugden painted in the most contemporary way, where each stroke is a study of NEVER2501’s artistic precision.

At 32, Italian artist 2501 or never2501 has been painting scenes that leave not only his mark on canvas, paper or street walls, but also the imprints of enlightened beings. The one we’d like to bring particular attention to is in celebration of our beloved protector, Dorje Shugden!

Rapidly making a name for himself as one of the most exciting and recognizable artists in today’s contemporary street art scene, never2501 has painted street walls in Rome, Brazil, Miami, Paris, New York, Chicago and Brooklyn, just to name a few. But what we at dorjeshugden.com find most exciting is that this Italian artist is very spiritual, having been one of His Eminence Gangchen Rinpoche’s students for over 15 years! Gangchen Rinpoche has encouraged and given his blessings to never2501 to inspire others through his talents, simultaneously planting the seeds of Dorje Shugden and Dharma in the millions that see his walls of art daily.

Below is a short interview with never2501 in celebration of his creative and artistic expressions of Dorje Shugden!

Q: You are based in Italy?

A: Yes

Q: When did you start painting?

A: I started painting when I was 15 years old. I started with pure graffiti letters on trains.

Q: Who inspired you to paint?

A: I was inspired directly from city environments and from an old VHS that I saw back in the day. A VHS about TDK, a famous old school posse in Italy.

Q: You paint on paper, canvas and street walls. Any other materials?

A: I paint on everything… I don’t like limits.

Q: How did you develop the line style of painting which is now your trademark? Am I right to say this?

A: Yes, the line style is my trade mark and it evolved after a long period of working on patterns in general.

Q: Do you have a special name for this contemporary art form?

A: I call it new muralism.

Q. Are you a full time artist or do you have a day job and do this as freelancing?

A: I’ve been a full time artist since 2007.

Q: What or who inspired you to paint the Dorje Shugden mural?

A: I was inspired directly by Dorje Shugden.

Q: Where and when was the Dorje Shugden mural painted and how long did it take you to paint it?

A: The Dorje Shugden painting was done in Richmond, Virginia, USA and I was invited to paint several walls for a festival called G40.

Q: Any particular reason why you decided to paint Dorje Shugden?

A: It has been a long time that I wanted to paint Dorje Shugden, so I just decided to do it.

Q: Are you a Buddhist?

A: Yes I am.

Q: Who is your teacher if you don’t mind me asking?

A: My teacher is Lama Gangchen .

Q: And how long have you been his student?

A: I have known him since I was 10 years old more or less, and I became his disciple when I was 16. So right now it has been more than 15 years.

Q: What does your Guru say about your work?

A: He likes it! I asked Him to kind of authorise and give me the approval before I started painting Buddhist divinities, and He likes the idea so I started to do it!

Q: Do you know about the Dorje Shugden controversy and ban?

A: Yes I know!

Q: And what do you think about it?

A: I think it is a kind of political problem inside the Tibetan Buddhist community. I’m not sure if it is something that really involves western people. However, I totally trust Lama Gangchen and He practices Dorje Shugden so maybe one day I will practice it. I don’t practice too much, to tell you the truth. I was born in the middle of Buddhism and for me it is a big part of my culture. It was natural for me to become Buddhist. I also think that any type of church is kind of strange so for me the most important thing is your guru, the person that is transmitting you the knowledge.

Q: What is your goal/purpose/dream?

A: Have a happy life and grow as a person. Be free from samsara.

Q: Do you have your own art gallery/studio? Website?

A: I have my studio in Milano and this is my site: www.2501.org.uk

Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? What do you wish to achieve?

A: I don t think of me in 10 years… I think or try to think about myself day by day. The present!

Outlining Dorje Shugden on a huge wall in Virginia, USA

The many who see this image receive the blessings of Dorje Shugden.
May Dorje Shugden plant seeds of enlightenment in their minds

Dorje Shugden on canvas along with other Buddhist divinities

Kache Marpo, Setrap and Vajrapani

Another creative painting of Dorje Shugden on paper with a tie-dye effect

Dorje Shugden on paper

Vajrapani in watercolor

Looks like Vajravarahi rising above samsara

Precision strokes form a key component of never2501’s trademark style. Each stroke is an integral part of a larger pattern in his murals


Other wonderful walls and artwork by never2501


Other works of never2501 all over the world

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7 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Great 2501
    your art is DIAMOND ART.

  2. Thanks for your virtuous creativity the Dorje Shugden is awesome !!

  3. One should care about those who practices Dorje Shugden under severe circumstances where they’re harmed and abused from holding on to Dorje Shugden practices. Why is it so? Without these practitioners who have strong faith, including your guru, you wouldn’t have meet your guru today. Defending and voicing your disapproval of CTA is repaying your guru kindness. Why? CTA is doing non-dharmic actions to these Dorje Shugden practitioners.

  4. I love your art. Freedom of expression is important for beautiful arts to be created. Italy is a free country. never2501, there is no harm in voicing your support against anti-Shugden practitioners including CTA. It also shows one trust in one’s guru because due to Dorje Shugden’s lamas upholding this practice from the past and that your able to meet your guru today. Very kind indeed these Dorje Shugden’s lamas have been.

    May your art spread love and peace to others.

  5. It is good to know that someone who is renowned who have the karma to be able to know and practice Dorje Shugden, because I guess in this time and period we need more influential people like him in order to bring the ban down much quicker. With more famous people know about Dorje Shugden, it will draw more attention to the public regarding the ban and the cruelty which CTA had caused.

  6. I love never2501 expression of guru devotion and love for Dorje Shugden through art. Many modern, young, educated and artistic people can relate to Dorje Shugden through such an expression, it’s non violent and beautiful.

  7. I absolutely love this art form. It is bold, creative, unique and awesome. We must send this art of Dorje Shugden to the CTA to break tradition and the ban.

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Contemplate This

.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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