When we set out to design the new Alaska USA Visa Credit Card, we were looking for something both inspirational and fun. We stumbled across the work of Alaskan artist Meg Smith and knew we needed to look no further. Meg lives in Girdwood, Alaska, a ski hamlet near Anchorage. There she uses a unique graphic style to transform the remarkable natural beauty of the Chugach Mountains that surround her into stunning works of inspiration.
The partnership with Meg was also a simple way of giving back, which felt especially important during the pandemic. The result of this collaboration between an artist and your credit union is the card you see here. We’re very proud of it.
Artist. Explorer. Pilot.
Meg is the type of person many of us wish we had been brave enough to become. Early in life, she left everything behind to live her dream of outdoor adventure in Alaska. Later, she earned her pilot's license and today, she spends her free time flying over mountaintops or skiing in vast, scenic landscapes—where she is inspired to paint and design masterful artwork from her home studio.
Read Meg's story below.
My Alaska adventure began with a scheduling fluke.
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania where I developed an early love for adventure and outdoor sports. After a kayak trip in Mexico was canceled, I used the opportunity to visit Alaska instead. It’s not an exaggeration to say that trip changed my life. My short journey turned into a much longer one. I simply never left. Now, eight years later, Girdwood, Alaska is my home.
Visiting Alaska and seeing the wilderness for the first time has an immense impact on the very core of who you are. It made me realize there simply wasn’t enough time in my life to see and do all the things I wanted to do, and I wanted to make the most of what I could.
Mountains especially inspire me with a sense of awe and wonder. It’s almost impossible for me to describe with words what I see when I’m out among these towering giants. My passion is to try to express my encounters through art—to evoke in others the feeling I experience firsthand at the base of a glacier, the mouth of some remote river, or flying over a mountain top.
I have met some outstanding people in my short time in Alaska. One influential person was a pilot from Talkeetna. She showed me how flying provides the freedom and opportunity to explore, inspired me to become a pilot myself, and before long I had joined the ranks of a small number of female pilots in the state.
It was a flight to a remote area that inspired the piece used for the new Alaska USA Visa Credit Card. I was on a back country ski trip when the weather had me stranded for an entire week. I happened to bring some paints and canvas with me and, one night, had the opportunity to paint the northern lights as they shimmered across the tops of the mountains. I later used my experience as a graphic designer to create a digital piece that is now represented in the Alaska USA card. But, were it not for that moment when nature seemed to pin me down in one place to take in and paint what I witnessed, I’m not sure I would have been able to create this piece.
That’s what I love about Alaska—the endless possibilities. Having my art in the pockets of so many people—Alaska USA members—all over the world is unbelievable to me. I am so grateful for where this Alaskan journey has taken me.
- Meg Smith
Artist. Explorer. Pilot.
You can learn more about Meg and her artwork at megsmithdesign.com.
Put the magic of the northern lights in your wallet—get the new look of the Alaska USA Visa Credit Card today.
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