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Level Up Residency Artists Exhibition

Tarni Eastwood, Kaitlin Johnson, Jacki Marie and Creation Saffigna
28 June - 05 August
All day
Level Up studio + gallery, Level 1 near Library

About the exhibition

The Level Up youth arts residency engages emerging young artists transitioning from school, work or tertiary studies to a career in the creative industries sector on the Gold Coast. This initiative now in its third intake provides young artists between the ages of 18 to 25 with a three month residency that includes funding, studio space, professional development and industry experience. Young artists are supported to create a range of public outcomes during their residency period including studio arts practice, participating within festivals, community events and creative activations.

This residency commenced in March 2019 and the exhibition is the culmination of artworks developed by the artists during the three month residency period.
Exhibition dates - 28 June - 5 August
Gallery hours - Tuesday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
Level Up Gallery - Level 1, Shop 143, The Strand at Coolangatta (located near the Coolangatta Library)
Contact details - email on or 07 5581 6691


Tarni Eastwood is a Darug woman from Western Sydney born in 1996 and currently based on the Gold Coast. Through her artistic practice she sees an obligation to preserve her indigenous culture and a way to pass down knowledge and stories.
Tarni is inspired by her grandfather Danny Eastwood, a Gadigal man and self-taught visual artist. Over the years her artistic practice has evolved. Tarni’s first love was photography, which later led to experimenting with stop-motion animation and film. It wasn’t until early 2018, she started using acrylics on canvas to paint her own dreaming using traditional symbols and techniques.
As an artist in residency at Level Up Studio and Gallery, the experience has allowed her to experiment with a variety of mediums and explore ways to express her cultural identity, including immersive installation, large format prints, facilitating workshops and public art.
Artist statement
Are you comfortable? is an immersive installation that has been created to facilitate conversations and to generate social awareness about the cultural identity of Aboriginal People. It’s intended to challenge the viewers perception of discrimination and educate the audience on the still present racism.
Ideas of genetics and culture are often mistakenly collapsed together so that if someone’s skin is lighter, they are thought to have lost that equivalent of Aboriginal culture. This project has allowed me to connect with others that have been affected by this belief. By communicating with others this piece has developed into what it is now, a communal activation for proud Aboriginal people to be seen and have their stories heard.
IG: @tarnieastwoodaboriginalart

Kaitlin Johnson is an Australian artist who was born and raised on the Gold Coast. Her practice explores the complexities of our world through the medium of fractal art. For her, fractals have become a metaphor for the connections we have to technology, the environment, ourselves and other people. She believes the inherent beauty of fractal art lies in the ability to construct powerful and striking images from simple mathematical equations. While not mathematically inclined, Kaitlin loves to explore the infinite artistic possibilities that math has to offer. For her, deep diving through fractals becomes a very meditative experience that allows for self-reflection and greater creativity.

Currently studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Kaitlin is majoring in media and communications and minoring in visual art and graphic design.
She will graduate in December 2019.
Artist statement
I didn’t really know what to expect while undertaking this residency, but I knew it was the first opportunity for me to take my arts practice seriously. Being in a collaborative space with three other amazing young artists has given me a greater perspective on the work I create, and why it’s important to me.
After much reflection on the work I’ve made during the residency, I’ve realised that it is an exclamation of things that have influenced my life up until this point: the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned, the places I’ve been, the attributes I value – fractals all encompassed within new medium experiments using projection and textiles.
The fabric of who I am isn’t a solitary effort; it was woven by others, with threads of their own added in along the way. Just as I have added my own threads to those around me in my life.  What remains is what I project to the outside world.

IG: @thatfractalartist
FB: thatfractalartist

Jacki Marie is an Australian artist born in Camperdown, NSW in 1994. Her practice is about her connection to her heritage and being a queer woman of colour within a predominantly westernised culture. She explores these boundaries through her work using dystopian and grunge themes incorporating a majority of different mediums like aerosol, acrylic and digital illustrations. Jacki’s work is punchy and is described as statement pieces whilst portraying a punk message.
Jacki’s practice has changed over the years but the message she has conveyed within her work has stayed the same - the battle for identification within a western world as a queer woman of colour. Her influences include Jean-Michel Basquiat and the Danish graffiti crew MOA (Monsters of Art). Basquiat has inspired her due to his background in graffiti and the way that he presented himself as a black man within his art, incorporating layers and punchy aspects. Due to Jacki’s own background in graffiti, another creative influence is MOA - they hold the concept of anarchy that is the sense of how graffiti is more than aesthetics. MOA have kept true to the message of graffiti that we as people are here and that cannot be taken away, which is what Jacki strives to include and base her artistic concepts on.  Jacki will graduate from Bachelor of Design at Griffith University in 2020.
Artist statement
“Once captured, bought or obtained by birth, slaves were forced to succumb to the will of their masters. The history of Mauritius reveals that it has been under a severe regime of slavery in the past and today slave descendants’ account for a good portion of the Mauritian population.”
(Slavery in Mauritius - Clever Dodo 2019)
Growing up within a multi-ethnic home, Jacki has questioned the right to identify as a woman of colour because of the underlying battle of being mixed race and a queer woman. Her arts practice has reflected these concerns over the years utilising graffiti, computer design and the traditional visual arts to communicate the struggle of facing colonial prejudice within everyday life. The works on display communicate a shadow self, the dark self of the past moving towards a brighter future. Coming from Mauritius, my ancestors were oppressed through slavery and died to be free from colonialism.
Jacki presents three works of three, each reflecting her life journey; imprisonment, transformation and ascendance. Her work with her sculptural hands is a representation of her ancestors, they provide a way to understand that each slave was not just a number but they were human, it also represents her own battles with the shadow self. The butterflies and objects encased in resin represent the three stages of Jacki’s journey. The photographs are a representation of her ancestral and personal connection to each stage of her life. The written word on her work is poetry that has been selected from each segment of her story.
IG: @brooklyngc


Creation Saffigna is a playful maker of art living on the Gold Coast. Through her practice she explores the subconscious and dreams. Her stream of consciousness poetry is used as a layer within her paintings. This is done through gestural marks, line and colour. The culmination of artmaking techniques results in art that is process driven.
Creation Saffigna graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in 2015. Creation has exhibited throughout Australia, including UNGUARDED/IMPRESSIONS, The Departure Lounge, Sydney (2016) ; The Laundrie National Emerging Art Prize, The Laundry Artspace, Brisbane (2015) ; Merge, Canopy Art Centre, Cairns (2014). She also curates for the Deeper Than You exhibition program, at Miami Marketta.
                                                                      Artist statement
‘I Bled Until Flowers Were
the Death of Me’
Reaches into cathartic
Duels with mind and body
A female, yes.
But after I pour
out metaphor
and paint
I am human.
Sweeping off the
Female experience
Female jargon
When it all melts off
We are just matter
Bound by earth.
Beneath me is beauty
That has
passed through pain
I draw upon a place
That knows no time
Only stillness.
I am intimate with a
That is
a conversation
That never ends.

IG: @creationsaffigna
The City of Gold Coast’s Level Up studio + gallery is a one of a kind community arts space on the Gold Coast, comprising of three key components: the Level Up residency, the Level Up gallery and our public programs.
This new space is designed to provide access to art experiences for young people and adults within the local community and beyond, through public programs hosting a range of creative activations, such as art workshops, artist talks, school holiday workshops, networking events and an exciting exhibition program.
The Level Up residency is a youth arts incubator, which supports and nurtures the development of young and emerging artists practicing in the early stages of their career.
The Level Up gallery is a contemporary art space which showcases the works of young and emerging local arts practitioners. The aim of the Level Up gallery is to provide young local artists with a professional venue for exhibitions of new work.



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