We recently sat down for a chat and poke with Austin artist Lauren Dunkin. You can find “Dope Toast Hand Poke Tattoos” for all inquiries at @dopetoast.
Hey, Lauren! Could you tell us a bit about who you are and where you’re from?
“I was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. I had the desire to get out of my small town pretty early on and moved to Austin in 2011 for college, majoring in graphic design. But for the last three years, I have run a vintage boutique with my best friend and recently decided to take my passion for art and tattoos and become my own boss.”
How long have you been drawing/illustrating?
“For as long as I can remember! My great grandmother, grandmother and mother have all been artists. I have old drawing journals from elementary school that I still hold on to. I am grateful to my parents still, for letting me spray paint and draw pictures on the walls of my high school bedroom. I would even paint on blank canvas shoes, skateboards, surfboards and denim jackets in high school for extra cash. I guess you can say I have always had an entrepreneurial bug.”
Where do you find inspiration for your art?
“A lot of it comes from conversations I have with friends. Bouncing ideas off people for a flash sheet. I’m always trying to find a little humor in the drawings. I feel like a tattoo is a time stamp for where you are in life at that moment. So I guess you can say I’m inspired by the times. I also get a lot of inspiration from vintage illustrations and patterns. I feel like we are all really just building on what we know from the past anyway.”
What is your first/weirdest memory/experience “poking”?
“I feel like getting into intimate situations for prolonged periods of time with strangers was the weirdest part of this whole thing. Boys coming over for a thigh tattoo, having to take off their pants, and then have me shave them is always a fun way to get to know somebody! Who needs Tinder when you have tattoo needles, am I right?”