Phoenix artist Eric Cox pushes boundaries with his surrealistic creations.

Eric Cox

Written by Wayne Michael Reich Category: Arts Issue: September 2016
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“Until after she sings” by Eric Cox

“Planning is for engineers, not artists,” says Eric Cox, as he makes an impromptu sketch of a fish on a napkin. “What’s truly important is the impact your work can have.” That assessment, when applied to Cox’s catalog of close to 1,000 original works, seems almost modest.

Ranging from collage to paintings, Cox’s surrealistic creations push boundaries, often by marrying popular culture with the politically incorrect – some of his most popular pieces depict Sherriff Joe Arpaio as a sombrero-wearing bandito, and former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as the Wicked Witch of the West.

Never content to stay in one place too long creatively, the 40-year-old Phoenix resident, who hails from Stone Mountain, Ga., strives to be out of his comfort zone when in his studio. He believes that spontaneity combined with media experimentation is the conduit to creating exceptional work. 

Cox’s singular focus stems from his “art boot camp” days at the University of Georgia where, despite an initial interest in entering the graphic design program, he found himself drawn to the advanced painting curriculum – a shift he states “held me accountable for the quality of the work I did.”

After college, Cox swiftly put his art degree to use, assembling a large patron base with whom he enjoys a more personal relationship. Cox points to his 4,000-plus fan base on Instagram (@artsycoxy) as a key factor to his success, believing that it “cuts out the middleman” and generates a higher return than a typical gallery arrangement. He sums up his artistic philosophy thusly: “You can talk about how good you are, or you can prove it.”

– Wayne Michael Reich