Joe Average – expressing himself through art since childhood

Joe Average - self-taught artist, expressing himself through art since childhood

Joe Average is a 59-year-old, self-taught artist, who has expressed himself through art since childhood.

First Nations art played a big role in inspiring his creativity. He has always loved the simplicity of the images, the graciousness of the lines and curves, and the emotional impact of the bright simple primary colours. He then discovered the “Pop Art” of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Peter Max. He was inspired that these fun and colourful images could be presented seriously on canvas.

At twenty-seven years old he was diagnosed HIV positive. At the age of thirty, he decided to dedicate the remainder of his life to art. Leaving work and refusing the assistance of Unemployment Insurance or Welfare, he challenged himself to live completely through his art.

With paper, charcoal, pastels, paint and a will to survive, he continued developing his survival skills and artistic abilities. He did not want to be on a deathbed wondering if he could have succeeded as an artist, or, wake up at 40 questioning the same. This threat and his awareness of mortality inspired and changed him. Art heals.

In the 70’s and 80’s, he spent a lot of time with his camera mainly documenting people. In 2010 he started photographing again mainly doing self-portraits to document his struggles with lipoatrophy.

Joe Average has lent his name and art to many social and humanitarian causes and he is a fierce advocate of arts education for children.


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