Joe Average (born October 10, 1957) is a Canadian artist who resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Diagnosed HIV+ at age 27, Average made the decision to commit the rest of his life to art, and to challenge himself to live by his art. He was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Average frequently donates work to charitable causes, such as Vancouver's annual Art for Life auction. His work has been used for such projects as A Loving Spoonful (a charity which provides meals to people with terminal illnesses) and the Davie Village. Average has also been selected to judge submissions for Vancouver's AIDS memorial and anti-homophobia posters.
Average is known for his cheerful, colourful, cartoon-like work, including images of flowers, animals and insects, and people. He has received many awards and honors, including civic merit awards, the Caring Canadian Award (1998) and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Silver Medal for Outstanding Community Achievement (2002). Vancouver mayor Philip Owen issued a civic proclamation to designate November 3, 2002 as "Joe Average Day" in the city.
Average was honored as one of two grand marshals of Vancouver's annual gay pride parade in August 2006. In 2011, he was suffering from lipodystrophy, a not-uncommon side effect of antiretroviral therapy.
Born in Victoria in 1957, Joe began signing his artwork as Joe Average when he was 19 years old. His pop-art has captured the attention of international art critics, royalty, celebrities, and the public. His work is a visionary kaleidoscope of colour, creativity and compassion.
Living with HIV for the past 20 years, the self taught Joe Average has earned international recognition as an advocate for AIDS, an artist, and a noted philanthropist. His art was featured on a 1996 Canadian Stamp which was also the conference image for the 1996 XI International Conference on AIDS.
In 1998 Joe was recognized by the Governor General of Canada with the Caring Canadian Award. The City of Vancouver bestowed him with a Civic Merit Award in 1994. He was the recipient of a 1993 Jessie Award, and has been officially presented to Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana at Rideau Hall. Other honours include, The Canadian Institute of the Arts for Young Audiences Award, Xtra West Magazine’s Heroes of 1996 Award, and in 1997 the Friends for Life Society honored him with the Friend In Deed Award. Joe most recently won the Davie Street Banner Competition.
In recent years, Joe’s life has begun to reveal the illness that plagues him. To find out more about his extraordinary life use the following links: