Homeless Leather Maker Works in Free Studio, Finds Art Supplies on the Streets

Playing Homeless Man Makes Beautiful Leather Shoes and Backpacks From Donated Material

This Tennessee man may not have money for rent or socks, but all he needed was a little magic to become an artist.

Ean Greer, a leather-maker in Nashville, said he has always found the material he works with.

"I was walking through a parking lot and there was this weird hippy girl in a van,” Greer told WTVF. “She gave me a garbage bag full of leather and I always find it magically.”

Another time, Greer said he found a bag of leather at a bus stop.

Greer has been homeless for the last seven years and lives on a mattress in a ditch, enclosed by a makeshift roof of tarp.

“It’s weathered all the storms. It’s getting hot out and that’s what sucks," he said. “[My parents] probably worry about me."

His art, though, he practices at a nonprofit called Poverty and the Arts, a professional studio he doesn’t have to pay rent to use.

“People keep telling me I was an artist. I never thought of myself as an artist, I just make stuff,” he said. “I started doing this for me because I wanted moccasins.”

Greer said he started creating with leather after his store-bought shoes kept falling apart.

Ever since, he has made shoes, backpacks and other products to keep his things.

“It’s crazy what you can do just with your hands if you sit down and start doing it,” he said.

Until he can be paid to do what he loves, Greer said he is happy with the way his life is.

“Besides the fact that I don't live in a house, I'm pretty normal,” Greer said. “That’s the trade-off doing that. You have a lot of freedom.”

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