Jelsma’s Journey: From Athlete to Artist

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Some people use art as a therapy or as a way to express themselves, but for one South Dakota man, he sees art as a challenge.

“It’s more of an advanced puzzle I guess for me,” said Robbie Jelsma. “It’s figuring things out like when I was little I remember I tried to paint by numbers and it just frustrated me. So I never painted until I was in college again, but I had drawn all the time. It’s like a challenge, I see myself evolving as my art does.”

An athlete by trade, Jelsma’s love for art started as something he did when he was bored.

He said, “I went to school and played football at SDSU. I had a knee injury and that’s when I started tattooing as like a bored type of a thing.”

After graduating with a degree in engineering, Jelsma moved around the country to different jobs. But one thing was steady, his love for home and his love for art.

“I started changing my thoughts about what I wanted to do the rest of my life that kind of stuff. I just was losing motivation for the monotonous engineering type of management stuff, so I just put in my letter of resignation and send it back to South Dakota,” said Jelsma.

And South Dakota is where he went. He now lives in Springfield where he can help his dad farm while continuing his art career. Moving around the country has made Jelsma appreciate home a little bit more.

“A full circle type of a thing. You move away because you think you need to when you’re younger, and I did.” He continued, “I appreciate home a lot more now because I did that. Coming back here is a lot more special to me now then if I were to have came straight down here from school.”

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