Mundelein trustees' tattoos show their love of their suburb

If you want to know how much Mundelein trustees Holly Kim and Dakotah Norton love their community, just look at their arms.

Both have tattoos of Mundelein's logo - a star-shaped array of colorful M's.

Norton, 26, got his tattoo first, not long after he joined the village board last year. Kim, 35, got her ink last month and called it "a nice passport stamp on this great adventure of life."

"When my future grandkids or anyone ask about it, I can point to it and say, 'This star? Well, one time when Grandma was younger, I ran for public office,'" Kim said.

A lifelong Mundelein resident, Norton said his tattoo is about more than his service on the board.

"The Mundelein star, for me, shows that I care about the village that made me 'me' and the respect I have for all the people in it," he said.

It's also a rare commitment, at least in the Northwest suburbs. Kim and Norton may be the only trustees in the area with tattoos depicting a municipal logo.

Naperville Park District Commissioner Bill Eagan has a pair of tattoos, both of cartoon characters. He said he was impressed Kim and Norton have such pride in their hometown.

"Tattoos express something about you that you are willing to share outwardly," Eagan said. "However, that kind of tattoo is not for me. While we never plan on leaving Naperville, if we were to move I am unsure if the tattoo would remain relevant."

Batavia Alderman Marty Callahan has a tattoo in a place he described as "well-hidden." It depicts Felix the Cat with an oar, and it represents his time on the rowing team at Purdue University.

Adding Batavia's logo to his skin isn't on Callahan's to-do list.

"If I had a tattoo for the places I've lived, I would look like a steamer trunk," he said.

Mundelein trustees Holly Kim and Dakotah Norton have tattoos of the village's star-shaped logo. Courtesy of Milamemories Photography

Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz is a fan of the logo, which the village board adopted in 2014 as part of a rebranding and marketing effort. He said he's pleased Kim and Norton have memorialized their political service with the five-pointed symbol.

"Who knows? Maybe they'll start a trend," Lentz said.

Mundelein's star is red, blue, gold and green. Each color represents an aspect of life in the village.

The blue points symbolize Mundelein's proximity to water. The red section represents the village's urban amenities. The green symbolizes its outdoor recreational assets. And the gold "M" optimistically stands for Mundelein's future.

Norton got the star just above his left elbow at Competition Tattoo & Custom Cycles, a Mundelein shop. Owner Jean Pierre Fontaine did the work.

Kim's tattoo is on her left forearm. Danise Wolfe, at Lucky Seven Tattoo Studio in Libertyville, inked the piece.

It was Kim's fourth tattoo.

Tattoo artist Danise Wolfe draws Mundelein's village logo on Trustee Holly Kim's left arm in January. Kim and Trustee Dakotah Norton have tattoos of the logo. Courtesy of Holly Kim

"I told my family this Christmas all I really wanted were a couple of tattoos," she explained. "Most people are surprised I have any."

Norton said he has seven tattoos, approximately one per year since he turned 18.

"I can pretty much tell the story of my adult life through the ink along my arms," he said.

Kim was on the village board when it adopted the M-star logo, but she said she didn't think of it as a possible tattoo design until later.

"There are many people who have tattooed the Chicago flag as a symbol of pride," Kim said. "The (star) design, being simple and clean, makes a great tattoo."

An Evanston company called Business Districts designed the M-star logo. It appears on village vehicles, business cards, letterhead and even clothing available for purchase at village hall.

Bridget Lane, a director with the firm, said her team is flattered Kim and Norton turned the logo into body art.

"Getting a logo tattoo shows an amazing commitment to Mundelein," Lane said.

Kim and Norton say the tattoos have been conversation starters in the community.

"Tattoo enthusiasts think it's pretty cool to have a tattoo that is so personally meaningful, even if it's not a complex or artistically challenging design, while people who would never get a tattoo tend to have a new respect for ink with such a serious connotation," Norton said.

Kim said she's met people who are considering getting M-star tattoos after seeing hers. "Maybe I'll work out a Mundy Star tattoo deal," she said.

• Daily Herald Staff Writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.

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