Born into a military family in Monterey, California, Sandy Byers moved frequently as a child. She loved drawing as a child, which her parents encouraged by enrolling her in private oil painting lessons in her early years. It was love at first stroke, and Byers continued to paint even as she launched a successful career as a web developer for Microsoft.
In 2002, Byers decided to retire from the tech world and pursue a full-time occupation as an artist. She currently lives in Washington state, near the water that she has loved since she was a child. She regularly competes in juried art shows, and her works are featured in a number of magazines and art books.
Naturally a creative person, Byers recently discovered that innovation can come from the most unexpected of places. Sometimes pure necessity can lead to the deepest strokes of insight.
A New Way to Paint
In 2013, Byers and her husband were visiting Marymere Falls in the Olympic National Park. Byers brought paint and canvasses to paint the falls that were at the end of a steep, mile-long hike. But when they arrived, Byers was dismayed to discover that she had forgotten her brushes. “I did not have the heart to ask my husband to go back to the car to get them,” she said. Undeterred, she searched for a substitute. What she did next has become her trademark: painting masterpieces with MasterCards.
“You have to find something to paint with when the scene is there and you’ve done the work to get that far,” she reflects. So that day she started painting with credit cards, a quirky habit that she continues to this day.
Sandy insists the cards work just fine, and upon closer inspection of her work, she seems to be right. Her colors blend beautifully and you would have no idea that no brushes were used in her work.
When she paints outside, which she usually does as her favorite subject matter is landscapes, she often attracts curious onlookers. Few people have ever seen credit cards used to do anything but shop, and many people appreciate the creativity of her idea. One woman who stopped to watch Byers paint one afternoon commented, “I only use a credit card to shop. My husband would love me to use a credit card like this instead!”
Painting Instead of Chargebacks
In fact, many people wish some shoppers would use credits cards like Byers does. Monica Eaton-Cardone, CIO of Global Risk Technologies, specializes in fighting credit card crime in the form of fraudulent chargebacks. Eaton-Cardone says chargebacks are a form of consumer protection offered by banks that issue credit cards. Chargebacks are supposed to be used for credit card refunds when merchants fail to deliver products as specified, wrongly charge a consumer’s credit card, or process transactions executed by fraudsters.
However, chargebacks are being used in a new, inappropriate way: to commit chargeback fraud. Fraudulent chargebacks are on the rise, which is bad news for businesses whose financial stability can be undermined by one too many chargebacks being filed against them.
While Global Risk Technologies help companies manage their risk for chargebacks, Sandy Byers’s work reminds us that credit cards can be a powerful tool—for both a painter and a consumer.
What do you think of Byer’s work? Has she created a new genre of painting?