Day of the Dead festivals, inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, pop up around metro Phoenix every fall. Add in Cinco de Mayo, and you've got a whopping couple of days when Mexican culture seems to be on everyone's mind. Works by Phoenix artist Lalo Cota, who was born in Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico, pretty much assure that those who see them will have Mexico on the brain a lot more often. You can't drive far in downtown Phoenix without seeing a mural he's painted alone or with one of his many collaborators. Many feature skulls or other iconic Day of the Dead imagery, or cars that embody Chicano lowrider culture. He's got mural art inside the new Barrio Café Gran Reserva and outside Carly's Bistro — plus dozens of other places. Seeing walls painted with Cota's signature skull-faced characters reminds people of Phoenix's relative proximity to the border — and the fact that being close to Mexico is a good thing, worthy of celebrating with more than just a few days of partying.