Joe Average is a 62 y.o. Vancouver-based artist. In the 1970’s he started exploring drawing and photography. In 1984, he was diagnosed with HIV, prompting him to put his aspirations into action by making a living from his artwork. Using vivid colours and bold lines as structural elements, Joe created highly stylized paintings. In 2010 he started photographing again creating a series of self-portraits to document his struggles with lipoatrophy. Joe has lent his name and art to many social and humanitarian causes in Canada and has received countless awards and citations for his philanthropic work. In 2019 Joe was commissioned by the Royal Canadian Mint to design a coin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
I was almost halfway through painting this canvas, I had been working on it for weeks. It was about 11am and I had been painting since early in the morning breathing in paint fumes, so I decided to go and get some breakfast. I got into my truck and drove to this greasy spoon restaurant on Davie Street that I regularly frequented. It was Sunday morning and I was shocked and a bit confused that there were no parking spots.
This image was commissioned and designed for the 11th international conference on AIDS. What I wanted to express in this image with the stained glass feeling is that we are all fragile in the face of AIDS but working together with love.
The heart in the centre is what we need to do.
The passion and vision or story for all art should go here so people can connect to you and your artwork and be able to relate.
The painting came about because I was commissioned to do a painting of a jaguar (cat). So I started sketching out cats and came up with one I liked except it didn’t feel a jaguar. So I went rogue and kind of ignored my client's wishes. I created a second cat to befriend the first cat. At first, I had them both looking straight ahead but it felt cold and emotionless.
I love flowers. Sometimes the head of the flower gets so beautiful and large that the stem tires out and has to have “lie down”. It seems to happen to tulips the most.
There is a nice peaceful area I like to sit at in Stanley Park. For years I have been going there, mostly just to sit, think, sketch or write, away from the noise of the city and my studio. In my life, I always seem to notice things or people that are out of place. Mainly because of how I have always seen myself. A little oddity of life that has never quite "fit in".