He Didn’t Choose Leather, It Chose Him
Article By: Amelia “Killer” Rose
Originally Published In The April 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Growing up in Atlanta, GA, Curt Green of Bare Bones Leather was always fiddling with something, be it his dad’s lawnmower or his bicycle, which the neighborhood kids lovingly called “Frankenstein” because he switched the parts out so much. Along with his tinkering, he loved to draw, so much so that he would frequently be found in class drawing rather than doing his school work. No matter where they were, his mother always kept a pen and paper in her purse for him to sketch with, and by the time he reached his teen years Curt went from drawing to painting murals and working with clay (he actually still has a clay head that he made that hangs in his shop. Apparently, he’s quite scary, but his name is Bob.) Once high school was over, he went off the join the Army, where he began drawing tattoos for his brothers and was given the opportunity to paint a mural on the wall in the mess hall at Ft. Jackson for the Special Olympics. Upon leaving the Army, for once in his life, Curt was without art. He lacked ideas and drive and felt empty. After a trip to the local convenience store and a few minutes flipping through the pages of a chopper magazine, a fire was lit in his belly, and he went out to buy an airbrush kit. Curt airbrushed on pretty much anything someone would pay him for; gas tanks, baseball helmets, etc. He spent about two years airbrushing until he met someone who would change his life for good.
Curt met Tim Quick, owner of Outlaw Custom Seats around 2008, who was interested in his artwork and soon after asked him if he’d like to be his apprentice. Immediately he became obsessed with the art of tooling leather and studied not only the current uses of leather but also the history of the art of leather craft. Curt studied under Quick for approximately a year and a half until he handed over the tools and he became his business partner. After roughly four years, Quick handed the business over to Curt in 2012, who opened a shop out of his home and changed the name to Bare Bones Leather, which he has owned for an incredible six years.
When asked what made him choose leather as his medium he responded with “I didn’t choose leather, leather chose me. Before meeting Quick, I never had even heard of tooling leather nor had I ever seen anything like it, but after that first visit to his shop I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was the medium I was destined to work with.” It’s an amazing moment when you see something and realize that it’s what you’re meant to do for the rest of your life. Not many people get to experience that, and those of us that have and get to do what we love for a living are the luckiest ones. As for what inspires him, Curt’s answer is enough to make anyone say “aww,” his mother and great-grandmother, two very important women in his life. As a young child, he remembers watching his great grandmother paint, and as he grew and began to pursue his own passion for art, his mother was always incredibly encouraging and supportive. Of course, as he got older he tried as many types of art as he could, even some graffiti on the backs of buildings and bridges in his hometown. Though of all the art forms he tried, nothing was able to hold his attention the way leather did, and he is forever grateful for having met Quick when he did and having the opportunity to learn a craft that has opened an infinite number of doors for him over the past ten years.
Since his start in the world of leather crafting, Curt has been able to meet and work with all of the people he used to read about in the magazines from the convenience store. “I have always looked up to and was finally able to meet Paul Cox (Paul Cox Industries). He is an amazing leather worker and will strive to be in the same realm as he is one day” Some of the other people he has had the chance to meet include Roadside Marty (“Loudmouth of the industry”), Jeff Cochran (SpeedKing Racing), Sugar Bear (Sugar Bear Choppers), Chris Callen (Cycle Source Mag), and so many more. For him, it is truly humbling that the people he once read about now call him or refer people to him when they need leather work. Of course, like many artists, Curt has his own special way of doing things that sets him apart from the others. In his opinion, the fact that he has such a diverse background in terms of medium helps him to see things differently helps when it comes to making masterpieces for his clients. Though his methods may be viewed as unconventional to some, he loves trying new techniques and isn’t afraid to waste a bit of leather to make things perfect. His background in general art and airbrushing also helps to give each customer a one-ofa- kind piece they can be proud to own for years to come. Curt uses leather to express other people’s visions that sometimes they have a hard time expressing. For him, there is nothing better than hearing the words “this was more than I imagined,” or “I can’t believe you made my vision a reality.”
Currently, Curt works a full-time job on top of creating leather masterpieces, with the hopes of retiring from the fulltime within the next 3-4 years so he can pursue his craft full-time. He is excited and hopeful that his artwork will leave a legacy of hard work, and the love of the motorcycle community. Of course, nothing in the world would make him happier than being able to do what he loves 23/7, leaving an hour or so to sleep, of course. If you want to check out some more of Curt’s incredible craftsmanship, which I recommend you do, you can check out his Facebook At facebook.com/Bare-Bones- Leather-101093273263626), his Instagram (@barebonesleather), or you can email him at email@example.com