Cox painted the mural in 2011, when he was based in Phoenix. It was located on a south-facing wall of a building that houses an art studio, gallery, and artist live/work spaces on West McDowell Road near Third Avenue. Today, Cox's studio is in Tucson.
Titled Old Man Phoenix, the mural depicted a lone man's face, with the word "embrace" subtly written in the lower right corner of the piece. "It was clear to me then that not everybody would understand the piece," Cox told Phoenix New Times in a Thursday, January 18, message.
"To me, Phoenix isn't always a beautiful sunset," he wrote. "It is the cracks that are created by the blistering sun and the people that endure and thrive despite the oddities. I find beauty in those cracks."
It's been painted over due to wear and tear, according to building owner Donna Trigilio.
"The exterior needed to be scraped, caulked and repainted," Trigilio wrote in a Thursday, January 18, email to New Times. "The color in the mural is faded to the point that it was time for a change."
A new mural by Lalo Cota, which will span at least the full south-facing wall, is already in the works. "It's a combination of his vision and mine and is evolving as we go," Trigilio wrote in a follow-up email on Saturday, January 20. "He already put a lot of the base color up on the front."
Cota is a prolific muralist whose work graces several venues, including Barrio Cafe, Carly's Bistro, and Chase Field. In June 2017, Cota's iconic sombrero flying saucer mural on a carwash at Roosevelt and Seventh Avenue was demolished to make way for a new development.
It's the nature of mural art to be temporary, of course. And Cox is keeping it all in perspective.
"Even though I'm disappointed that my painting is no longer there, I find solace in the fact that the intended emotion and statement is exemplified by 'his death.'"