Aspiring Artists Showcase their Talents


Ben Olson

Hana Coughlin

  In a small apartment building in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District, more than 50 people that watched musicians and artists unveil their creative talents.

Cal High seniors Chris Nigro and Hana Coughlin were among those artists displaying their work the last week of summer in what turned out to be their first art exhibition.

Nigro, an aspiring artist, started to organize the Aug. 10 event about two months prior when his friend and musician Ju-han approached him with the idea to debut his EP.

Nigro creates most of his artwork with a pen and paper.He creates art inspired by  what is going on in his life.

What’s going on around him often becomes his inspiration.

Leading up to this event, Nigro was going through and art deficit which is similar to writer’s block. He explained that he was extremely stressed out with the planning of this event and,  as a result, his creative ability suffered.

Nigro said he was able to overcome this challenge with the help of his friend Coughlin. He felt being with her helped him draw. This worked both ways as they both draw inspiration from each other.

“Once I have an idea the process is intentious [sic],” Nigro said. “Once I formulate what I want to draw I am able to finish what I am working on.”     Coughlin spoke about long periods of time that she would not draw. But once she saw Nigro’s drawings, it pushed her to begin creating new art.

   This kind of event was a first for both Nigro and Coughlin. Neither had sold their art prior to the exhibition, but both expressed how valuable this experience was for them. They agreed that the event was a success.

“Even if I didn not sell anything it would have been successful because of how supportive everyone was,” Coughlin said.

Nigro said that the time leading up to the start of the show was a little stressful but once the people started showing up and he started to see familiar faces any sense of nervousness faded away.

Although they are both incredibly talented artists that work alongside each other, they have very different styles.

Senior Alex Van Diggelen, who attended the show, really enjoyed the exhibition.

“The music was super cool and all the art displayed was trippy,” Van Diggelen said.

Coughlin displayed T-shirts that she printed herself with the help of her brother.

“It was frustrating at first but once I got it, it was really fun,” Coughlin said.

Something unique about the screen printing was that they used exposure from the sun to develop the T-shirts.

This process starts like any other artist’s. First, she found inspiration of what she wants to print on the shirt. Most of her artwork is heavily influenced by the type of music she listens to.

Even though Coughlin and Nigro work together, their inspiration for art and the process they go through to create their work is very different.


Chris Nigro
Image of Chris Nigro

This show can be seen as a learning experience for future events as well as a building block for Nigro’s life long dream.

He expressed his desire to attend art school and then open an art gallery where he could display his work and give other artists a platform to share their talents.

He explained that he wants to do this to promote creativity among the younger generations.

Coughlin’s next event could be the debut of the EP she is working on with her brother, Sean Coughlin.

She is graduating early from school in order to further her music passion.

Working with her brother is something Coughlin does frequently, not only with music but with art as well. Sean Coughlin said his sister has really grown as an artist over the years.

“What helped her as an artist was not worrying about her image,” he said. “She makes whatever she wants regardless of what people think.”

For the EP, Sean Coughlin said they both enjoy creating music together. He plays the instruments and creates the rhythm, while his sister adds her voice over it.

It is clear the Coughlins are very passionate about what they create and are aiming to put out a project that they will be happy to put their names on.

“It is not about the money, because if I don’t enjoy what I’m doing I’m not going to do it. I know if I pursue music I probably won’t make that much but it’s more fulfilling,” said Coughlin.