Éva Boros, 28, was born in Germany but grew up in Hungary.
In 1992, her father got a job at Ohio State University in the cancer research department. Her mother and her father both moved to the U.S. but decided to keep little Éva with her grandparents in Hungary. At the time, her parents couldn’t speak English and thought she would be more comfortable there.
“I had a great childhood in Hungary, but I missed my parents,” she said. “I was 11 when my family decided it would be okay for me to join them. My dad was transferred to Harbor-UCLA that same year.”
Now screenwriter and co-producer of Saving Banksy, a documentary about street art and graffiti, she worked in the arts for a number of years. Living back in Ohio since 2012, she plans to further her career in the arts when she moves to Nashville next month.
TRANSITIONS and TOP RAMEN
By the time Éva was born, the Soviets had already left Hungary, but what remained was a communist culture.
“When I was growing up one year, my dad came home to visit us and he brought us a packet of Top Ramen. It was chicken-flavored Top Ramen, and I loved it,” she said. “I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced.”
Éva said her grandmother loved it as well because she didn’t have slaughter a chicken to make her chicken soup. She begged him to bring her more the next year, and he did.
“It was a like a delicacy for me,” she said. “When I came to the United States and went to the grocery store for the first time. I found myself in the Top Ramen aisle, and I had an emotional breakdown because it was very shocking to come from a culture that was not defined by consumerism but something else and here, that is entirely different.”
Éva said those experiences she had as a kid, has impacted her life in a very positive way.
“I feel at home anywhere,” she said. “Although the initial move to the U.S. was difficult, I have friends all over the world, and I have family in different countries. I love the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and learn by experience.”
ART changed EVERYTHING
When Éva first came to the United States, she said seeing graffiti helped her acclimate to her new home in a new country.
“There’s a lot of graffiti in Hungary and Germany, so it gave me a sense of familiarity,” she said. “It helped me pull myself out of the culture shock and relate to American culture.”
Not as an artist but just as a lover of the art itself, Éva became immersed in it. Every time she goes to a new city, the first thing she looks for is the graffiti.
Originally, Éva was going to pursue physics, but she dropped out because she wanted to pursue writing and the arts. At 22, she moved to San Francisco to try to make it as a writer while also working in retail. That’s when she met Bryan Greif, the producer of Saving Banksy. She said they connected through gallery work when he asked her to write the script for the documentary.
“That’s where it all started with my career,” she said. “And then from then on, I did everything but write. I started developing these relationships with galleries and artists, and for a while, I just worked toward helping people build a collection of art.”
Éva has had many roles with galleries in both the private and public sector. She said she tries to work independently of the art industry because it can be a difficult place.
“There’s a lot of discrimination and artists don’t get paid a lot of the times. Galleries can take advantage of creative people and usually it’s only one side that makes all the money – the galleries and the gallery owners,” she said. “People do horrible things for money, and most of the time it’s the artist that feels the biggest hit from it.”
NASHVILLE WALLS PROJECT
After San Francisco, Éva moved back to Columbus, Ohio in 2012. Her co-producer Brian Greif moved to Nashville.
“I went down to Nashville to meet up with him because we were still working on the production of the movie,” she said. “While we were there we decided to drive around and look for walls that would be cool to have murals painted on them.”
Éva said they took photos and tracked down the owners and asked them to let them paint on their walls. In May of 2016, Nashville Walls Project was born.
“At the time, it seemed like a very abstract idea. We had photos, and we were meeting with all these developers and property owners. Finally, Dan Maddox, owner of the Cornerstone Building, understood the art and when we talked to him, he said we could paint whatever we wanted.”
She said ever since then, the Nashville Walls Project has been going well.
“Property owners are not only reaching out to us, but they’re also reaching out to local artists as well, and that was great to see,” she said. She explained how street art and graffiti belongs to the community.
“Public space is polluted with excessive advertisement, so to have a piece of art that solely benefits the community around it, and not someone else who is profit driven, is important,” she said. “It assigns a sense of ownership over public space for the community and instills pride and responsibility. Public art can help younger generations feel more welcomed and included in the community outside of school and their homes.”
Éva is moving to Nashville in April and made it clear the creative community and the diversity are big reasons why.
“I love the South, and I love Nashville, but one thing I love about the United States is that it’s such a culture hotspot.”
She said she sees it more so in some regions of the country than others.
“In the South, you have an Asian population. You also have Hispanic, African, and Creole. I don’t see that kind of diversity in the North, especially in Ohio and Indiana.”
“Diversity is important because it brings so much to the table. You have these influences from all over the world, and you have the opportunity to sit down and have an interesting conversation with someone that is different.”
Éva said she never thinks of diversity as something that isn’t important.
Éva said she’s heart broken by seeing people displaced by gentrification all around the country, including Nashville. She said when it comes to the growth of the city, she wants to work more toward maintaining or improving the way people have to live because they have no other choice.
She said people are being pushed out and properties are being developed just to hike up the value. She said it’s unfair.
“My concern is what am I going to do to help?”
During an installation of the Nashville Walls Project, Éva got to experience a type of community that she had never seen before.
“It happened when Herakut was painting their wall,” she said. “All of these business professionals, then all of the local artists came and camped in lawn chairs. It was so multifaceted. That was the first time for a lot of people to meet but it was like everyone had known each other for years.”
“Community is defined by a sense of responsibility to your environment and feeling like a necessary component of something you cherish and love, and ultimately it defines who you are.”
Éva Boros will be speaking at TedxNashville 2017, find the schedule and where to see her talk here.
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