Year of the Monkey

After the passage of a dozen years it is again the year of the Monkey, Fire Monkey to be exact. The Chinese Lunar calendar functions by combining 12 animals with 5 elements. Each element, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth & Metal, expresses their Yin and Yang aspects via the Animal that elements falls upon over the 12 year cycle. The last year of the monkey was in 2004, its element that of wood. Fire springs from wood, in another 12 years earth will metaphorically rise from fire, like ashes left behind. It’s in elaborate system that can take a lifetime to explore.

In accordance with the Chinese calendar, February 4th marks the first day of Spring leading to the cycle of new year celebrations which continue until the 8th. To quote the offical Horoscope

This year is called bing shen (3rd heavenly stem, 9th terrestrial branch 丙申).  February and March will be very turbulent. The geomantic prospects indicate there are two lucky cardinal directions and two fearsome ones.  The lucky ones are Southwest and East.  According to eight-diagram theory, Southwest stimulates wealth and career development.  To get rich, seek a southwest location.

The article goes into much greater details, specific to one’s own birth animal. Unlike western astrology, the year of one’s birth has a more significant effect on “their sign” than does the month. As a monkey (Earth Monkey) and an illustrator I’ve had the added bonus of creating some artwork specific to this theme.

Monkey King digital illustration

The beauty of a digital illustration includes its flexibility. Tiger Claw Inc. parent company to Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine traditionally produces a T-shirt for the year and this year my illustration was featured, now that we can affordably produce full-color process shirts. Below are the two designs I created using this artwork.


The selected design was then sent into production, accompanied by a second piece of T-shirt art created by Kung Fu Tai Chi’s fellow designer. Both of which where then featured in the latest issue of the magazine itself, along with previous monkey themed shirts (some of which I also illustrated).


Yet is still not done with promotions for the new year. A pair of these shirts will be given away as prizes, (act now as this sweepstakes ends today at 5:30pm) and they will remain available for purchase online at We also had a couple of Kung Fu master visit the studio and demonstrate their Monkey Kung Fu,  all of which will lead up to an epic Monkey King competition this spring at the Tiger Claw Elite Championships. Perhaps more on that event later.