The burning monk(ey)

  • by kaloyster
  • posted Apr 03, 2007

"He never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound."

Depending on the shirt, this design can go from 1 up to 4 colors. See my flickr account for more color options.

No primates were harmed during the making of this design.

Watch this
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kaloyster profile pic Alumni

"He never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound."

Depending on the shirt, this design can go from 1 up to 4 colors. See my flickr account for more color options.

No primates were harmed during the making of this design.


poor monkey... tsk tsk


wow, I guess for oviouse reasons I have to give this a 5. lol


awesome. but what was he protesting? banana prices? i'd wear this.


At first glance, I definetly thought it was a fireman.


nobody thinks this is in poor taste? Awesome illustration but don't like the reference.


lol @ hotmonkeytoday


do i really want a monkey burning on my shirt? i think not.


Yes, love the hoodie design the most. I also wish there was a way to get the quote ON the hoodie. Maybe around the hood or I dunno, you're the designer, you figure it out.


its a reference to the monks in vietnam lighting themselves on fire to protest Diem presidency, radelstik


I can barely see the monkey unless I look for him.
Which is a good thing, you could wear it in public and people would just see flames rather than a burning "monk."


i seen that monk that burned himself in protest in one of my history books its gross


Sorry, but I wouldn't wear something that makes light of the Vietnamese protest.

kaloyster profile pic Alumni

First of all, thank you very much to those who appreciate and like this design. It means so much to me.

Now, what I don't understand is why others say this is offensive or not wearable in public, when all I did was do a parody of one of the most famous photograph taken in history. I mean, what's so Vietnamese about this design? Why is this offensive and mean? Even more what's gross about this? So you mean self-immolation for a great cause offends you? Really, why is this offensive?

It's sad thinking that I made everything perfect and ready about this design for others not to appreciate this and say rude things about it. Threadless public voters are really unpredictable :(

Go ahead, if you really hate my design that much give it a zero. It's so disappointing. And to think that this is my most favorite artwork I made. You can't even appreciate the art, time and effort I put to this :(

This is a t-shirt designing contest.

"It's a t-shirt.

aled profile pic Alumni

Ok. I understand what you're saying about time and effort, and it technically looks good - but I do think it is slightly naive to think that this will not be offensive to some people. It is a famous image - but because it documents one of the most remarkable protests ever. It astonishes everyone who sees it because it is a man committing suicide in the most horrifying and public way because he believes so strongly in his cause and he wants the world to know it. I think your satirization of this image trivialises and belittles this event and is slightly disrespectful to the monk and the cause he died for - also because your design likens the dying man to a monk(ey)! Which isn't even clever wordplay. Most, not all, people who recognise the original image will think this design too tactless.

So – try a pastiche of something that people don’t mind being parodied. Chin up! It’s a good illustration. Its just the concept is a bit hot. No pun intended. I’m giving you a 3 :-)


the artwork does look amazing, especially with the back placement
it's just the story behind it is sad

kaloyster profile pic Alumni

Here are some color options.

IMHO, I think Dakota Slate and Heather Grey are nice.


i like did make me sad for a moment when thinking about the poor monk :( but then just remembered its a design for a shirt and think its brilliant...looks great, the colours and size etc :D perfect


I have to agree with fatheed. It's a wonderfully executed illustration but it will probably have the same effect on most people as if you'd used the kid stopping the tanks at Tianenman Square. Given that our countries are locked in yet another pointless and destructive war at the moment, it's bound to raise hackles. On the other hand, turn that skillful hand of yours to a Bush or a Blair on fire and you'll have a fan club.

Orange~On~Orange profile pic Alumni

I also agree, well crafted - poor taste.

Velvet Jones

$5 all the way. Print now.


C'mon, kaloyster! The only offensive jokes you're allowed to make on Threadless involve communism and Jesus! Didn't you get the memo?


The illustration is indeed beautiful, but the minute I saw it I wasn't thrilled with the reference material for reasons seen above. Just copy and paste fatheed here basically.


I couldn't have said it better than Fatheed.


If art were judged solely on the time and effort put into it, There would be no reason for art.


expression is based on the ability ot communicate, not the attempt at it.


Great design. Back of the black hoodie is great, the side placement is also good. Front-and-center doesn't do anything for me. $5


Took me forever to find the monkey, all i could see was a llama.
(that backwards C diagonal upwards left of the monkeys mouth threw me)
Its kewl.
The idea is good, so long as you understand where its come from.


sorry, no. Fatheed said it and I agree. It's a beautiful illustration but it not okay. You're so good at fire; make something else burn.


Beautiful design but very bad taste.


wow i love this shirt. i dont know why its a monkey, please dont tell me youre comparing buddhist monks to monkeys. cuz im buddhist...


Wonderful design. I apreciate all the effort and thought you put into it.

Could we burn logs instead?
Well, actualy that would probably change the whole concept, so nevermind. If I were to wear it, I like it on the back.

5 bucks for the design, though.

ISABOA profile pic Alumni

wonderful job - 5$


equating a tibetan monk to a monkey may be a little weird.

but this is a nicely done piece.

w/o the historical ref it's a 5.
w it's a 3.


I feel absolutely terrible for laughing at this, but I get it. I think the design is very good but I would not wear it because I would be too afraid of offending someone. 5


People where I'm from have their heads up their butts and wouldn't totally get it, but oh well.
I'd buy it- and wear it.


Heather gray would make it look OLD.

I like the other three-slate, burgundy & black.




no hatin', only congratulatin'
I couldn't design something like that.
Maybe he's protesting testing on animals or the destruction of the rainforests.
On the other hand, I own shirts with serial killers on them. I throw no stones.


It is a great design idea. However, I don't like the idea behind it. That Monk's sacrifice was a sacred one and this satire (while appreciated) mocks the idea behind his actions. Good luck on this though. Don't get too upset about people's reactions. If they are reacting this strongly then it must mean you did something right. Its a damn good design and you should be proud of it, even if I hate the idea of it.


I think its really cool looking, until you realize its a stupida ss monkey/

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