Newspapers and tattoos have a common element: ink.
Brielle Munizzi combined them by creating a permanent tribute to her family’s newspaper of choice on her right arm.
“It truly is Sun-Times or bust in my house,” says Munizzi, 30, who grew up on the South Side in Garfield Ridge.
So she got a tattoo of a fake front page of the Sun-Times.
The tattoo also pays tribute to her family’s longtime Sunday morning ritual. Growing up, her family would fill their favorite mugs with coffee while her dad ran to “the Jewel” to get a copy of the Sunday paper. Then, they’d sit around the kitchen table and flip through the pages together, discussing that day’s stories.
“My family’s always been big on simple pleasures and simple indulgences, and that’s been a longstanding one for us,” Munizzi says.
There are tiny tributes to her family throughout the tattoo.
Her family members each have mugs, so a little Munizzi’s Rapala fishing lure cup is above the paper in her tattoo. Her brother isn’t much of a coffee drinker — so Munizzi made the date on the report his birthday. And the front-page “story” is a sketch of the sun rising over her family’s home.
In 2018, Munizzi left Chicago, moving to Richmond, Virginia. It was her first time being away from the city, and she was the first person in her family to move away from Chicago.
“I missed home, and when I think of home, I think of the simple things that kept my family in touch with each other and kept us having very present moments of being together; I would think of having coffee and the paper,” Munizzi says.
On a trip back to Chicago in 2019, Munizzi decided to get that ritual permanently inked onto her arm with the neotraditional tattoo.
“I just came home with it one day,” Munizzi says of breaking the news about her new tattoo to her family. “It was, at first, the shock of, ‘Oh, my god, she got another tattoo.’ But then it was, ‘Oh, she got the tattoo of us!’ ”
She has since moved to Denver— but still drinks out of her fishing lure mug every Sunday morning.
Munizzi also has another tattoo on her arm that many Chicagoans would recognize — the letters “MDW” for Midway Airport, which is in her old neighborhood.
“Even though I wanted to see other parts of the world, Chicago is always going to be home,” Munizzi says. “The South Side specifically is always going to be home.”
That’s why she didn’t settle for a tattoo of the city skyline or flag. She wanted ink that represented the city the way she experienced it.
“My favorite thing about coming from Chicago and being a South Sider is you grow up learning to be tough, and you learn to have a grit and blue-collar work ethic,” Munizzi says. “It’s having that toughness and also kindness toward other people. That’s what I think of when I think of home.”