SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 37-year-old artist Bo Raymond is proof that the past doesn’t define who someone becomes.
“I call it the hippie Jesus … I love peace and love and the flowers,” she said, describing one of her paintings.
While two paintings by Raymond of Jesus Christ feature the same subject, they’re distinctly different.
“I painted that in a part of my faith where I felt very lost in the dark, and the way I felt that Jesus came into my life,” Raymond said, describing another painting she did of Jesus. “I was in prison in a cell by myself, in the dark by myself.”
Raymond on Tuesday shared her story, which includes drug convictions and time spent in the South Dakota Women’s Prison.
“I wasn’t really doing well,” Raymond said. “I was really bad into the drugs, and my mind was just not grasping life.”
The mother of four is now a guest at the St. Francis House in Sioux Falls, which offers transitional housing. But come Thursday, she’s moving out and heading to St. Peter, Minn. where she’ll be closer to her kids.
“Last week I’m officially off of parole,” Raymond said. “And I’ve been on parole since 2017, and I’ve been on probation since I was 18.”
What’s more, Raymond celebrated one year of sobriety in early March.
“Now she gets to move home in a few days, off parole, she’s a free woman, her debts are paid off,” St. Francis House Executive Director Julie Becker said. “She has amazing talents from her artistic work to her ability to weld.”
Another painting by Raymond, this one featuring a bee, highlights how she’s taken flight. Appropriately enough, she gave it to Becker.
“You think you have big problems that you carry, but you have no idea that you have wings that can carry you,” Raymond said.
Raymond is planning on working as a carpenter in Minnesota.