2021 Archibald Portrait Prize Entry.

The surge rips over me, startling me as wave upon wave of disorientation crash through me. Disintegrating everything I have ever known. I feel overwhelmed, surrounded, consumed. My world spins, blurs, sinks, rolls and twists. Nothing else exists except this terrible moment. I am in overdrive, trying to fight through the ever-darkening of my world.

Hopelessly confused and lost to the wilderness of my mind, I dive deeper and deeper into the nothingness. I no longer know what is up, down, inside out. What is and what is not. No anchor, just me and my mind allowed to drift the surges of life. Nowhere to seek refuge except in my deepest fears. Fists are clenched as I hold on for dear life to everything I have known to me, be it good or bad. Scared, I can only hold on. Hold. On.

The only thing that I know to be true is my beautiful wife, Danielle, and my daughter, Aadya. They are the only constants that have, somehow, kept my feet moving. I balance the tight rope of what has become my mind. Is this me? Is this what I have become? Is this the path I now need to traverse? Is this the karma I must pay back before any future abundance can be realised?

Having lost control of mind and body, I finally let go of the only control that remains. I release my spirit to the unknown. I must lose myself. To find myself.


I turn and walk directly into the fire of not knowing. It crackles, smokes and burns as I traverse the 44 years of physical and mental trauma experienced from deep in the womb to this very moment. To burn it all and set it free is my only way out.

It is no light-hearted walk in the park when you traverse the darkest corners of your mind. Most won’t tread this uneasy path, choosing instead, to turn away. As I always have. I have pushed it down, ignored it, been in denial, lied about it, drowned it in booze, tried to outrun it, sedated it with drugs, blacked it out so much that I couldn’t even identify the root of the cause.

To be raw, open, exposed and honest with yourself and the Universe is where you need to start. It has been 14 plus years, now, since leaving the Army. Since the beginning of my second life. I have been pushed, stretched and pulled in the void of my mind as I’ve searched for my calling, the true and real meaning to my life. Looking past the daily doses of fear for some kind of freedom, that spark, that glimmer of hope in the darkness. Waiting for the sun to rise full of abundance, hope, inspiration and a new existence, free from the shackles that relentlessly held me down.

These past two years have been a letting go, a realignment, a blessing, a release of the old and an opportunity to build new foundations. Letting go of control, that false hope that was a blanket for my fear in the cold dark night, dulling both fears and self worth. I dove deep in the rabbit hole and surrendered to the nothingness, vulnerable, where I could either rise or fall deep in the mud. To cut my own path away from the masses, to be free of the shackles of my lineage, my birth and what I was is the reward.

This is not a place for excuses, the poor me, the lies, the stories that I have told myself to prop up my illusory sense of self. The ego no longer lives here. It has all been a faćade, a poor existence of a life not lived. To be totally levelled in ruins where nothing else exists except the soil between my toes. Fresh earth as far as the eye can see. This is the planting, a germination of fresh new seed to come with a new message. A new walk, a new language, a new talk. Fresh green possibilities that take root in the new foundations of a new life of TRUST in the process of the Universe.

Now, I know my true path is the one where I stay in flow. Life is the ocean and I follow the ebbs and flows of it’s tides as it washes me through life. I listen for that inner calling, my intuition, my inner child that says slow down, play and have fun. Be present in this moment, stop and smell life’s flowers.

My friends, when that storm looms and is upon you, stop and turn your face towards it’s power. Welcome it with open arms as you would the sunshine. Embrace it. For this is where the real lessons lie. Find warmth in the knowing that you are doing the work that will better your life.

“It’s easy to look at your life as a series of highs and lows. But truly, it’s those parts in the middle, the bits that make up most of your life, that’s where you find the gold”.
Darren Trebilco




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Solitude Art Gallery

The Solitude Art Gallery / Open Studio is located on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, nestled in leafy Glenview.

Meet and talk directly to artist / owner, Darren Trebilco. View new artworks in development on the easel and interact with Darren as he works on his latest piece of original, unique art.