Joe Average was born in Victoria in 1957. He began signing his artwork with his pseudonym when he was 19 years old. Living with HIV for the past 20 years, the self taught Joe Average has earned international recognition as an artist, an AIDS advocate, 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, he was recognized by the Governor General of Canada with the Caring Canadian Award; and in 1994, the City of Vancouver bestowed him with a Civic Merit Award. Joe Average's work has delighted Vancouverites and the world since the 1980s. His art can be found living in public squares, markets, bridges, and street banners, as well as in many public and private collections around the world.