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story.lead_photo.caption This Michael Jackson candy collage is called “Thrill” and is made entirely out of junk food wrappers on canvas.

Recently, my parents sent me a load of old family photos.

After admiring our amazing '80s perms, stirrup pants and fanny packs, I noticed a theme. In many of the pictures, I was busy at my small metal desk, hair tied back in a neon scrunchie, always drawing.

As far back as I can remember, drawing has been my saving grace. I spent many days at that desk, sketching to help make sense of my world.

Fast forward to the current times, which, as you know, are uncertain. For the past several months, I've spent a few hours a day drawing, collaging and painting.

Once again, creating has helped make sense of my world. Remembering happy times and conveying them through art has allowed me to open up creatively.

I love referencing the 1980s and find pop art very satisfying. Most recently, I've been exploring the world of collage. My gracious neighbors regularly deliver stacks of empty candy wrappers to my door to be used in my new collection of junk food wrapper collages.

To me, nothing says happy like the cheerful candy wrappers that remind me so much of a joyful childhood.

As a young artist, I used to worry I'd never find "my style," which so many other artists seemed to have. I spent much time trying to create art to please others. I tried many different kinds of art, such as painting, sculpting and jewelry making. I even had a small bout of toilet paper tube folding (which was actually pretty neat). I was a jack of all trades, master of none.

I still wanted a style all my own.

I have always loved reminiscing about the past. I love all things vintage, particularly from the neon times of the 1980s. However, I thought that I should grow up and move on. I was still struggling while trying to fit the mold of a professional artist. For fun, I began creating artwork that reflected my love of the past. I discovered while I was painting, I was my happiest.

I realized to find my own style, I had to make what made me happy. I now proudly splash bold colors and pop art-type images throughout my artwork. It is my style.

As I have become more comfortable as an artist, others have begun to notice, too. In recent years, I have painted murals at local restaurants, taken commissions and written, illustrated and published two children's books. My most recent book, "Draw, Doodle, Use Your Noodle," is a complete-the-picture book for children who want to create with more than a standard coloring book. It gives them a chance to explore their own creativity alongside an illustrator. The book has been popular, and I will be releasing a second "Draw, Doodle, Use Your Noodle" soon.

My other picture book, "Meet the Type 1 DiaBitsies," turns diabetic supplies into fun, friendly characters that provide a gentle approach to understanding Type 1 diabetes. I'm also honored to be working with Jefferson City to design and paint large scale murals around town.

Keep an eye out, because they are coming soon!

Follow local artist Amy Greenbank on Facebook and Instagram at @AmyGreenbankArt or visit

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