f you’ve driven down Petaluma Boulevard South in Sonoma County, you’ve likely seen Sonoma, a colorful, collage-style mural depicting the area’s agriculture, history, and natural setting. It’s the work of famed mural artist Maxfield Bala, who was raised and currently lives in Sonoma County.
Bala’s love for painting and illustration began in childhood, but he was eager to expand the size and public interaction of his work. After a series of gallery shows, he began painting small mural commissions in San Francisco in 2014.
“The ability to transform a street corner, build community, and paint ideas at a larger-than-life scale really drove me outside of the studio’s small canvas and paper pieces to building walls and scissor lifts,” Bala says.
These small commissions rapidly grew to large-scale mural paintings across the United States and Mexico, and Bala was soon painting 14 to 18 murals a year. A favorite recent project was painting an old pumphouse at Sonoma Hills Farm, a premium craft cannabis farm in Sonoma Valley’s Petaluma Gap appellation.
“They really let me dive into my artistic style while I incorporated images relevant to the farm—like roosters, cannabis leaves, their classic farm truck, vegetables, and an iconic greeting from a Sonoma postcard—into the composition,” Bala says. His paints transformed this blank rural building into eye-catching art.
View it at Sonoma Hills Farm in Two Rock and find more of Bala’s mural masterpieces at maxfieldbala.com.