Fairmont is a national award-winning artist whose
main medium is watercolor, though she also uses other
medium. In the interview, Manette shares insights
into how she overcame limitations to become an artist,
her concept of true and inclusive art, her understanding
of the complete and individual nature of artists (not
needing to be artificially or sensually stimulated),
and the role that inspiration from the Bible played
in her success.
You have your own art gallery, and you are an
accomplished and nationally recognized artist. What
has brought you to where you are today?
The main idea, which I learned in my college education,
was the sense that I am unlimited. Whatever we need
to do we can do because God directs us. I began college
as a business major. With the help of my professors,
I realized there was nothing wrong with incorporating
creativity into my life as well as principled business
Did you always want to be an artist?
Yes, but I was told early in my life by a woman crafts
artist that I had no artistic ability. As a child,
I didn't realize the context of her comment.
In the end you weren't dissuaded by her comment,
but how did you deal with her negativity when you
I pulled away from the arts and did nothing with them
in high school, even though early on I had teachers
who commented on my creativity. I decided I'd be a
communication major, a news reporter. I got accepted
into several universities (all of which had good art
schools). But the one I attended (Principia College)
didn't have a communications department, so I decided
to major in business. But my love of art was still
there, so I took Art 101. It was one of my toughest
classes. I struggled the first half of the semester,
but wonderful things started happening the second
half. My professors told me I could be a combination
of things. It was all right to be well-rounded. So
I minored in business and majored in art.
Your business background has helped you, hasn't
Definitely! I do my own bookkeeping and marketing
and save a lot of overhead costs. My business background
helped me develop myself personally to do sales. One
of the most difficult things for artists is to promote
When did you learn to promote yourself?
After college when I took a job at a fine art gallery
where I was selling art. Interestingly, I had applied
to a really well-known art gallery but was not hired
there and never knew why. Two years ago, the man who
owned that fine art gallery wanted to buy my current
gallery. He told me he hadn't hired me because I was
an artist, and artists can't sell art very well. I
was challenged with a lot of stereotypes. He had so
much respect for my ability to do both. Learning to
be a multi-tasker was a big thing for me and allowed
me to go into business for myself.
What challenges have you faced along the way,
and how have you used the Bible to help you?
The issues of talent and competition are enormous
in the arts. People attach limits to artists. Art
might be fulfilling in terms of being creative, but
it may not meet the mortgage payments. My study of
the Bible encouraged me. Proverbs talks about womanhood:
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price
is far above rubies" (Prov. 31:10). The passages
that follow enabled me to see my own value as an individual.
I realized that the art I wanted to express didn't
compete with anyone. When I went forward with that
thought, I was able to follow what I wanted to do.
Jesus' story about the talents (Matt 25:14-29) was
also inspirational. We must use what we have been
given. If we bury our talents, we lose them. So, I
looked at my own house, my own abilities to run a
business and be creative. As a result, the gallery
idea blossomed and grew and became successful. I could
bless others by owning and running a gallery.
Did you start the gallery because you wanted to
Well, yes. The idea for the gallery came from a concept
of inclusion, not competition. There are a lot of
different expressions of art, and there are different
tastes for all types of art. I wanted to meet the
needs of the people in our community by providing
them with a variety of artistic expression. I've found
that the art in my gallery really isn't in competition.
There's room for all of it. It's all about sharing,
not withholding. And that's the lesson with the talents.
The ones who withhold are impoverished. The ones who
give of the light are blessed and enriched. We glow
with spiritual talents, and whoever comes into our
experience is blessed by it. That's how the gallery
came into being. I wanted an inclusive gallery, not
an exclusive one. The audience and the artists are
How did the passage from Proverbs on womanhood
help you break through stereotypes?
These verses value womanhood. They value the woman
who is able-minded; who takes care of her family;
who is able to work "willingly with her hands"
(Prov. 31:13); who "perceiveth that her merchandise
is good" (18); who "maketh fine linen, and
selleth it" (24); who is not idle; who can multitask.
One can be creative and productive at the same time,
expressing the Fathering and Mothering qualities of
God. The blessings such a woman brings to herself
and to her family are wonderful: "Her children
arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also,
and he praiseth her" (28). Her business is profitable.
We often feel that we have to be different, someone
else even, to be successful. As women, we sometimes
feel we would be more successful if we were men. But
we don't have to be anyone else but ourselves. And
we don't have to worry about what we're going to do
with our lives, or where we're going, or what others
think about us. We just have to accept who we are
and what God has given us right now. Even though it
may seem that we have very little, what God has given
us is enough for a lifetime. Everything I was when
I was two or in the fifth grade -- my desire to be
creative -- is right here right now. When we accept
all the good that is who we truly are, all the stuff
that's not so good will melt away as we grow spiritually.
A job is merely a vehicle for expressing God's qualities
-- the ones we're given. Psalms has a beautiful passage
about the beauty of the lord:
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath
We express that beauty, whether or not it's in art,
business, teaching -- you name it.
Can you explain more about the "oneness"
of which you spoke?
Oneness is symbolized by light reflecting light; the
light bounces back and forth. The light itself doesn't
change, but the activity changes. The one divine Intelligence
who created the art also created the observer to respond
to it. Those who walk into a gallery and look at the
art are really seeing the same "Mind" that
expressed the art. It's the one divine Intelligence
that made the artwork; and it's the One Intelligence
that is looking at the artwork. It's a reflection
back and forth.
And by One Intelligence do you mean God?
Yes, God. And understanding the oneness of the creator
and creation eliminates competition. It takes all
different types of art to express the One Intelligence,
and you need all different types of viewers. This
oneness is really what it means to be an individual.
The word "individual" means not to be divided,
to be whole, to be one, complete. So to be an individual
you don't have to be deviant. "Deviate"
That's an incredible perspective -- if you are
trying to deviate and be separate, you are not expressing
individuality. Yet, it seems that many people, artists
in particular, work hard to separate themselves, to
be different. What do you think?
Really, to be a true artist, you have to be whole
and complete in your own identity, not deviant --
feeble, unhealthy, narcissistic. Art is not narcissistic,
self-centered, in its truest sense, even though the
world would project that. You don't have to be self-centered
or high on drugs or have chemical help to get you
into sensual experience. It's not true that sensuality
helps you get in touch with the creative force. People
who use drugs find that out; they create artificial
and superficial art. And the people who use drugs
self-destruct. Success isn't about money. That's superficial.
Success is about letting your light shine, as Jesus
said in his Sermon on the Mount:
Let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works, and glorify your Father
which is in heaven.
When you get high on something superficial, you're
enveloping or growing inward; there's no progress.
In order to be truly creative, you can't play God.
It's humbling to be creative. When you're humble,
when you align yourself with divine unfoldment, you
have a greater audience. You touch more hearts, souls,
feelings when your art comes from God than when you're
seeking your own glory or feeding your own ego. Your
art expression becomes more amplified when you're
connected with God.
Why? Why is your creative expression more expansive
when you're in tune with God?
- Because the artist and the observer are one --
connected by God, or what I like to think of as
the one "Mind." The divine Mind has a
bigger audience than a little human mind.
- Because you're listening to a universal intelligence
who knows all his identities. God knows what people
need. When the artist has tapped into that, she
or he is going to know what to produce or give.
- Because God's in control of it all. That's why!
But if you think it's you personally doing the work,
then you don't have the easiest access to that audience.