55+ culture Cork Goss’ latest: a clay project that is a blown up replication of a one-of-a-kind stele (plaque) from Egypt called “The Royal Family.” Art for the People Syracuse artist wants more murals in Upstate New York C By Aaron Gifford ork Goss is not the stereotypical sensitive artist. He didn’t take up painting for the sole reason of expressing himself. The work is not always about making a statement. And while he’s inspired by the great painters of centuries past, Goss’ goal is not to restrict his best pieces to exclusive museums, galleries or in the homes of the wealthy. On the contrary, he’s mainly focused on producing art for the people. As an emerging artist, he walked among contractors, motor heads and “can do” people in a course of life that has helped in bring an industrial strength to a product that is also aesthetic. Those products, murals, 40 55 plus - February / March 2014 have been viewed by thousands of Central New Yorkers and visitors to the region over the years, and he hopes to eventually dot the entire span of the Erie Canal with several more pieces across the state. He has several pieces in the Erie Canal museum in downtown Syracuse, as well as works in Cazenovia, Canastota, Wallworth (near Rochester), Newark, Lyons, Clyde, Weedsport and Richfield Springs. Looking back and forward on his career, Goss, 56, is quick to credit penicillin with saving his life when he was a teen-ager and, more than a decade after that, providing him the opportunity of a lifetime as a muralist. He was hospitalized for five weeks for an appendix injury that nearly killed him at the age of 13. The antibiotic drug played a key role in his recovery. Years later, as a graduate student at Syracuse University, BristolMyers in Syracuse approached him to produce a mural at their Thompson Road location. “It was far more than I had ever earned for a painting,” he said recalled. “It was a big break from the same company that made the penicillin that saved my life. It was kind of an eerie kind of karma.” Goss grew up in blue-collar community near Detroit. Goss, the middle child of four siblings, was only 9 when his father died. His mother worked as a school teacher.