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Cancer survivor, first-time ArtPrize artist translates life experiences into art

Paige Rochefort in her at-home studio with her pup Henry by her side
Posted at 6:54 AM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 09:35:16-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Another incredible, local artist is participating in ArtPrize for the first time this year. Paige Rochefort's art is all about daydreams, but her life story hasn't always been a daydream after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 16-years-old.

Rochefort, now 26-years-old, has started her own business now to tap into other people's daydreams - Daydreams By Paige.

She works from her at-home studio where she and her pup Henry sat down with FOX 17 to discuss her health journey and what pushed her to participate in ArtPrize this year.

Paige Rochefort in her at-home studio with her pup Henry by her side

Rochefort has created art her entire life. Her talents and passion run in the family.

“My dad is an artist, he’s a metal artist," she said. "My grandpa - he was always an artist and a lot of people on my mom’s side too are artists.”

Rochefort grew up with art and studied it at Grand Valley State University. She has perfected her craft and has already tackled some big projects.

She has painted multiple murals across Grand Rapids including one near Gaia House at Plainfield and Lafayette and a new mural she recently completed in Alger Heights.

Paige Rochefort's mural near Plainfield and Lafayette

“People know me for my murals and my flower paintings," Rochefort said.

She wanted to step outside her comfort zone and decided to participate in ArtPrize for the first time this year after an ArtPrize venue, Lotus Brew Coffee/Dry Bar, reached out to her and wanted to feature her art.

On display are 50 different daydreams pulled from the minds of Rochefort, her friends, family and strangers.

“I opened up a form on my website and I let people take a minute fill it out," Rochefort said.

People wrote out their perfect daydreams and Rochefort brought them to life. Some people described a calm boat ride as their daydream, others described being in the mountains on a beautiful day as theirs.

'Daydream with me' by Paige Rochefort at Lotus Brew Coffee/Dry Bar

Rochefort says she hopes the community visits the art that's a bit out of the way from downtown, to experience all of the amazing entries of this year's ArtPrize.

“The places off the beaten path, it’s great exposure for newer businesses that aren’t in the hub of downtown too," she said.

So what's Rochefort's perfect daydream? Part of her dream she says, includes good health since that hasn't always come easy to her.

"It’s been a wild ride my entire life," she said.

Rochefort was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 16-years-old that then spread to her lungs. What got her through those dark times was very fittingly, art.

Rochefort going through cancer treatment

“It just gave me something to look forward to. I would always start a project when I was going to begin treatment and then I was always excited to finish it by the end," she said.

Rochefort has been in remission for nearly 10 years now and is transferring her life experiences into her ArtPrize piece and all of her future daydreams as well. Rochefort is hosting a launch party at Lotus Brew Coffee/Dry Bar Thursday from 5pm to 8pm.