The 254

Kalyn Dunks

By Jen Naylor Gesick

Coloring on Walls

If you’ve admired any of the murals adorning walls around Waco, you’re probably familiar with Kalyn Dunks’ work.

She’s the artist behind some of Waco’s most famous murals like The Findery’s “City With A Soul,” Sironia’s “Uptown,” “Dear Waco, We Love You,” a newer one on Simply Irresistible and her most recent creation for the new bar near Baylor, Freight.

She creates murals beyond Waco as well. In fact, she recently completed one in West and has gone as far as Florida with her talents. There’s more on the horizon in other cities, including one in Fredericksburg.

Dunks never imagined she’d own her own business and be able to make a living from her artwork, and at only 27 years old, she’s still pretty surprised by her trajectory to well-known mural artist.

A Midway High School graduate and Baylor alumna, Dunks got her start on murals pretty unexpectedly. As a graphic design student at Baylor, she was asked to paint a 40-by-60-foot homecoming mural on the ground, and she had to do it overnight.

“I don’t know why, but me and two of my best friends were crazy enough to try it,” Dunks said with a laugh. “I don’t know how we did it, but we did it overnight and then they asked us to do a couple more after that.”

Her two friends moved away, and Dunks found herself with more requests for murals and enough word-of-mouth business to keep her busy.

She actually does more than murals, too. She is talented at hand-lettered signs, which she makes mostly for weddings and other events. Her graphic design work has also been commissioned by small businesses to create their logos and simple branding. She even painted furniture for a bit as well but eventually decided she enjoyed other things more.

All of her business is basically word-of-mouth.

“I have a really close relationship with the owners of The Findery, and anytime anyone asks them about their mural, they give them my name,” Dunks said. “There have been a couple of businesses I’ve approached and just said ‘You have a really great wall for a mural, if you ever think about it,’ and those have turned around and come back to me. So, I’ve been very lucky.”

The summer was big for her with a lot of new opportunities and murals to complete, like one of Willie Nelson she painted in West inside the new Comma Co-Op. It was Willie’s mugshot from the 1970s.

“Whenever I was painting it, the last thing I painted was ‘Free Willie’ at the bottom. So, people would come up and ask me ‘Who is that?’ because its pre-braids, pre-bandanna Willie.”

Her business, K. Dunks Creative, is about to take a bit of a turn, and you may just find her work in stores all over the country.
“I’ve started designing for wholesale that will be in retail nationwide, and I’m really excited about it,” Dunks said.