Art has long been recognised as a form of spiritual expression. It is a tangible manifestation of how the artist views the world and is communicated through colours and forms that share his or her experiences of life. Thus, art can be powerful, influential and beneficial in bringing a message across to the audience.
Italian artist 2501 or never2501 is one such individual who recognised the potential of art and has used his talents to plant enlightened seeds through the strokes of his brush. The 32-year-old artist has been creating holy images of enlightened beings that not only leave a mark on canvas, paper and street walls but, more importantly, in the minds of his audience.
Never2501’s ingenuity, artistic talent and devotion to his Guru, His Eminence Gangchen Rinpoche and the Dharma has created a name for himself as one of the most recognised contemporary artists in the street art scene. He has been invited to major cities around the world such as Rome, Brazil, Miami, Paris, New York, Chicago and Brooklyn to grace their street walls with images that stop you on your path.
One of his masterpieces is a four-storey high contemporary image of the Protector Dorje Shugden, towering over the local community in Virginia, USA.
Having been a student of Gangchen Rinpoche for more than 15 years, never2501 began using his talents to plant the seeds of Dorje Shugden through his Guru’s blessings and advice. Below is an extract of an interview with never2501, during which he shares his aspirations to benefit the world through his faith and passion.
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: 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!
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma: