Born Brock Tebbutt, Joe Average is a Canadian artist who lives in Vancouver. He changed his name when he was in his late teens. He recalls looking at magazines from the 1950s with a friend and remarking to her: “Every once in a while there was the kind of guy in an ad we called ‘the average Joe’——you know, the newspaper man, the milkman, the gas station attendant, with a very chiseled chin, well-groomed. I would say to my friend, ‘There’s another average Joe…another average Joe.’”
Though influenced by the bold colors and iconic imagery of Pop Art, much of which is inspired by magazines and advertising, his work nevertheless demonstrates his own perspective as a person who has confronted issues in his life, from dyslexia to an AIDS diagnosis at 27. His imagery is featured on a commemorative coin in Canada celebrating LGBTQ rights over the past half century.
Joe Average (Canadian, born 1957), Self Portrait (from HEARTFELT), 1997, edition 2/55, linocut with hand color, 14 x 12 inches. Gift of Torrie Groening and Stephen Melvin, 102-2006.2.