Ernest Cox was born in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1937. He received a B.A. in Fine Arts at the College of William and Mary in 1959, and an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1961. Postgraduate study (Philosophy) at Michigan State University, 1961.

His professional background includes Sculptor/Designer, General Motors Styling Division Experimental Program, 1960; Art Instructor, the Duval County School System and the Jacksonville Art Museum, 1961-62; Faculty member and Professor of Art, University of South Florida, 1962-1991, where he also served as Chairman of the Art Department, 1971-73. He was designated Professor Emeritus in 1993.

Just prior to, and during his tenure at the University of South Florida, Cox participated in well over one hundred juried and invitational exhibitions throughout the East and Southeast, including solo gallery shows in New York, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Tampa. His work has been shown in group exhibitions at a number of museums, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the North Carolina Museum of Fine Arts, the Mint Museum, Jacksonville Art Museum, the Tampa Art Museum, the High Museum of Art, Norton Gallery, the Ringling Museum of Art, and others.  His work has been seen in solo shows at the Jacksonville Art Museum, and the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland. He has received a number of awards for his sculpture, including first prize in the 1965 Florida State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, Tampa, and first (purchase) prize in the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Invitational Southeast Sculpture Competition (1969).

Cox has received two individual artist fellowships from the Fine Arts Council of Florida, and recognition from the University of South Florida has included research grants and an award for outstanding undergraduate teaching. He is represented in a number of corporate and public collections, including the First National Bank of Atlanta, the Gulf Coast Museum of Art, the St. Petersburg, Florida Public Library, the  Washington DC headquarters of the F.D.I.C., the Gulf Life Insurance Company, and the First National Bank of Tampa, as well as in numerous private collections.

Shortly after retiring from teaching in 1991, Cox and his wife Barbara moved to Maryland, where he presently works, but with one exception, has not continued to exhibit. That exception, a solo show at the Academy of Art Museum in Easton , Maryland in 1997 was later followed by the Museum’s acquisition of three new works (2009).