The Art of AIDS
BY Benjamin Ryan
November 18 2010 5:00 AM ET
When visual artist Joe Average was sitting with a doctor in Vancouver, Canada, at the age of 27 in 1985, he says when he asked what the diagnosis meant he was told, “You could last six months. You could last a year, five years, 10 years, or forever. We just don’t know.” His response: “I’ll choose forever.” And 25 years after that conversation, he is still going.
A few years later, after being let go from “a crappy job,” he says, he decided to make an effort to make a living as an artist. Since art had been part of his life since childhood, it made sense. “I started making art and having little shows in my apartment,” he told The Positive Side in 2005. “I priced things according to my rent so that if I sold a piece, I could pay a month’s rent. HIV saved my life in that I decided to make art my life.”