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?
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!
Other wonderful walls and artwork by never2501
Other works of never2501 all over the world