Where the ‘hardcore’ hang out
Tattoo artist Derek Baker is a family man and he shares a few of his favourite places for family outings
AS YOU read this, thousands of people are flocking to the Cape Town International Convention Centre for SIX, or Southern Ink Xposure, the largest tattoo convention in the southern hemisphere.
Traditions of marking the skin with ink are thousands of years old but as a contemporary art form, tattoos have never been more popular. Tattoos have infiltrated the mainstream through television programmes like Miami Ink, and a global calendar of conventions. Tattoos are here to stay.
Derek Baker, owner of Metal Machine, one of Cape Town’s oldest and most well-respected studios, has been tattooing for almost two decades, gathering numerous awards along the way.
As a family man who doesn’t drink or smoke, Baker defies the stereotypes that might be applied by those outside the tattoo world who still think it is the realm of reprobates. He is a focused businessman, talented artist and brilliant tattooist. Okay granted, he does hurt his clients, but the result is worth it.
Working six days a week doesn’t leave much leisure time, but topping Baker’s list of favourite places is The Farmyard just off the West Coast road.
“Although I sometimes go off on my own and ride my bike out to Franschhoek, most of the time we look for places where we can go for a meal that are also kid-friendly,” says Baker, who has a four-year-old son, Kyle, with his wife Jody.
“The Farmyard is great for Sunday breakfast and you can have it in peace while the kids run around with the ducks and chickens. The environment is awesome, and the food is good.”
Driftwood Café in Parklands also scores points for its children’s entertainment factor, as does Mike’s Kitchen in Milnerton. “I don’t care what anyone says, Mike’s is great,” says Baker. “There’s a buffet every night and the portions are huge when you order off the menu. They’ve got Playstation consoles for the kids, a climbing wall and trampolines so you can enjoy your meal while they play.”
On the evenings when Kyle stays home, the Bakers might head for On The Rocks for sundowners and a romantic meal. “Onse Huise, which is up the road, is fantastic for drinks and pizza. It’s right on the beach so you can sit outside,” he says.
A keen biker who used to race before injuries threatened his tattooing career, Baker still likes to hang out at Killarney. It might be a while before that happens again, what with Metal Machine on the verge of moving to bigger premises across the road in Shortmarket Street.
“We’re all looking forward to the larger shop where we’ll have space for more artists and like-minded people who will inspire us to greater tattoos,” Baker says.