Five Days of Fidelio With Robert Standish and the Meaning of Trust in the Art World (VIDEO)

Tom Cruise arrives at the European premiere of 'Rock of Ages', at the Odeon, in Leicester Square, central London.
Tom Cruise arrives at the European premiere of 'Rock of Ages', at the Odeon, in Leicester Square, central London.

"Fidelio" was the all-access password used to get into the secret sex party in Stanley Kubrick's 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut. Comparing Malibu artist Robert Standish to Kubrick may sound ludicrous to the modest and humbled Standish, but given my film endeavors in the art scene, my five-day film tour with Standish left Kubrick-esque impressions on me. Now, I can easily replace Stankley Kubrick in this article with Pink Floyd, but since I'm a film guy, I'll stick with Kubrick. However, if you watch my film on Standish and see the album cover of The Dark Side of the Moon, you may find creative comparisons, especially in its spectrum of light motif and use of prism colors over black.

Meanwhile, if there is to be a kindred spirit between Standish and Kubrick, it would be their simple, straightforward compositions, acid-induced orbital and sci-fi planet exploration, and most importantly it's those eyes on Standish's Culver City Mural; eyes glaringly haunting in many Kubrick movies that we as filmmakers call the "thousand-mile stare."

I never asked Standish where he got the title "Eyes Wide Open Series," but perhaps in my own mind, I already had an answer.

Another benchmark in my career was the opportunity to film Standish at William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica, fueling their trust on my reputation alone. The fact that the gallery gave me creative licensing over the film proved their trust in me as a filmmaker. If there's going to be any password in the art world that will allow me to film in Standish's studio or after-hours with minimal supervision in a well-reknown gallery, that password would be "trust." Either they trust you, or they don't. Trust will give you the keys to their kingdom and believe me, you will see and hear everything.

If you want a seat at the table, you have to earn it and the key to earning it from this outsider is trust. I guess you could pay for it, but I'm not that cynical...yet.

In my art scene ventures throughout Southern California, I feel like Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, trying to be anonymous with my camera as a mask while watching the artists expose themselves intimately in sacred places. My eyes aren't shut, but like Standish's art, my eyes are wide open, and when I say "eyes," I really mean opportunities. There's ecstasy, allure, intimacy and secrecy all throughout the art scene.

Like Cruise, I've become a voyeur in their world. I just hope I don't get caught.

Here is the film I did on Robert Standish over the course of five visits: