On April 13 we're gathering in Soho to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Soho UO store in NYC. Come by to celebrate with music, drinks, pop-up shops, and more. (Stay tuned for more info on the party!) We've also teamed up with some of our talented NYC employees to showcase the creativity and talent that we're lucky enough to call our UO fam. Leading up to it all, we're highlighting some of the amazing talent who will be part of the event: like Mike Faudel of Hyena Mfg.
Combining utilitarian needs with rugged design, join us on a visit to Mike's Brooklyn Hyena Mfg. workshop to learn what inspires his one-of-a-kind pieces.
Photos by Natalie Fong
Can you introduce yourself please — tell us a bit more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
I'm Mike Faudel from Brooklyn and I engrave things on metal. My work is inspired by a combination of Vietnam war Zippo engravings, motorcycle, culture and irreverence.
How did Hyena MFG start? And where does the name come from?
I became really interested in the Zippos that soldiers had engraved during the Vietnam War with very personal or humorous messages and imagery of struggle, defiance and hopelessness. I've always been really into utilitarian materials as art and this was the perfect encapsulation of that idea, so I started making my own. I wanted to breathe new life into an already-existing medium so I incorporated my own style that's based in tattoo art, street art and a lot of lesser-known graphic designers doing a lot of cool stuff with simplistic imagery and phrasing. Hyena Mfg was ambiguous but had a little bit of teeth. Like it could be an innocuous paper plate manufacturer or the front company for an evil super villain.
How does a piece come together — walk us through the materials and process involved.
It depends on what I'm working on, but for engraved pins, for example, I blacken brass discs using chemicals then engrave a design based on something I've been thinking about then I engrave it. I have to be really careful about drawing something that translates to engraving and then not making any mistakes. If you mess up engraving you don't really have any way to fix it. Last, I solder pin backs to them metal.
How does living in NY influence the work you create?
I think the constant exposure to art, in general, is the biggest influence because you see it everywhere and sometimes that helps generate new ideas. I'll see something on the street at random or in a store that a friend owns or whatever and even if it has nothing to do with what I'm doing, it starts my mind going down a certain path that eventually ends up in my work.
Who are some other artists you are into right now? Who are some of your influences as a creator?
Shaun Hughes is a really talented engraver in the UK who does a different style than I do but is really inspiring. I also really love a lot of illustrators and designers that do either just ridiculous stuff like Swamp Wizards and Eric Kenney or do really stylized and detailed work I could never think of doing like ruffymutt and Ian Armstrong. As far as influences, there's way too many to mention, but it's a ton of tattoo artists and street artists for the most part.
Tell us something we don’t know about what goes into creating one of your pieces.
I want my work to be used and carried and get better with age so any time I try out a new metal treatment or assembly process or engraving on a new type of item, I test it out for a while by using it. For example, carrying a zippo around for a month to see how the metal ages and how the engraving wears.
What’s a new idea in your work you are looking forward to or curious about exploring in the near future?
I've been working on ways to incorporate engraved pieces into bigger items that still maintain the utilitarian mindset and I'm figuring out what that looks like. I've been doing keychains for a while, but I'm thinking more along the lines of combining engraved pieces with customized vintage clothing and accessories. We'll see where that goes.
What is your job title and role at UO?
I am the General Manager at the Urban Outfitters at Herald Square. There are a lot of things I like about it, but the biggest standout about working for UO has always been the way the company encourages creativity and embraces it as an important contribution not only to the business but to the lives of the customers and employees. It creates an atmosphere that brings together very interesting, talented and authentic people.
What’s next for you?
I'm currently working on a couple of collaborations that will be coming out in the spring and summer as well as working on developing where to take this project next. Until then I'll be making new stuff to sell on my website and exclusive items for sale at Feltraiger, a motorcycle-inspired menswear store in Williamsburg, BK.
See the Hyena Mfg pieces in person on April 13 at the UO Soho 30th Anniversary from 6-9pm at 628 Broadway