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.
On April 23, 2019, the Royal Canadian Mint released a coin with art by Average, said to symbolize the progress lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and two-spirited people have achieved in Canada as well as the work that still needs to be done.
- Van Dop Gallery: Joe Average
- Not Your Average Joe : Pop icon and artist Joe Average on his most challenging masterpiece — his health. The Positive Side, Spring/Summer 2005.
- The AIDS Walk for Life: About the Artwork Archived 2009-08-24 at the Wayback Machine
- Pamela Post, "The Incredible shrinking Man", CBC Radio, The Sunday Edition (documentary), January 16, 2011
- "Commemorative loonie marking progress for LGBTQ2 people unveiled in Toronto". CTV News, April 23, 2019.
- "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.