The latest large-scale but insanely intricate work by San Francisco muralist Amos Goldbaum jazzes up a little-known yet gorgeous public garden walkway in Bernal Heights.

The wildly popular San Francisco muralist Amos Goldbaum is no stranger to very large-scale works, as during the pandemic, he painted a street mural that took up an entire block of Sanchez Street in Noe Valley. Goldbaum’s stencil-style, tiny-brush landscapes of San Francisco are seen in local cafes, and as far away as Tokyo. But this week Goldbaum just completed a 13-panel opus in Bernal Heights called “City in a Garden,” a block-long mural that sits beside the recently re-landscaped Virginia Garden Walk.


“It took about a month” to complete, Goldbaum tells SFNews. “But it was off and on dodging rain the whole time.”

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews

If you’re not familiar, the Virginia Garden Walk is little footpath on Bernal Heights’ Virginia Avenue. (The mural is basically three blocks up the hill, southeast of the Mission-Bernal Safeway.) Its sign may be a little worse for the wear, but Goldbaum’s “City in a Garden” mural is brand new.

“The mural is in a hidden, but well-used scrap of sidewalk,” he tells us. “It can only be seen in pieces from the street, so I designed it to be viewed up close as a journey, with the colors gradually changing from one end to the other.


“The imagery also shifts from views north of Bernal (Downtown) to those south of Bernal (Bayview and McLaren Park among others) with Bernal Hill itself in the middle. Bernal Hill is flanked by two historic panels for which I used photos of the walkway itself as it looked shortly after being built in 1927. I hope the mural brightens the day of those who pass it.”


Indeed, we do see a tip of the hat to the year 1927 with the inclusion of old-time vintage cars.


Here’s what the mural first looked like when Goldbaum started it in late January. “My process involves first making a digital collage of reference photos. I then print these out and use them as my guide,” he says.


“I roughly sketch the composition in chalk and then adjust as need be as I sketch the smaller details,” Goldbaum explains. “When I'm happy with the sketch I go in with paint. I use one size brush to maintain a standard line width which makes the painting more akin to drawing with a pen on paper.


“My murals are like giant sketchbook drawings so I want to have that sense of immediacy that you get in that medium. I try to leave some decisions to be made as I paint and not design the whole thing out perfectly ahead of time.”

Image: Bernalwood: Discussion via Facebook

Though even in a quiet and residential part of Bernal Heights, the mural still got tagged in early February while it was still in the process of being painted.

“The mural was defaced but I was able to clean it off,” Goldbaum tells us. “There is a clear coating over it. Some of the neighbors who organized the mural and garden have taken other measures, but I'm not sure what those are.”


Well, a few “Smile, You're on Camera” signs now posted around the mural may indicate what those measures are. And this was not the first time Amos Goldbaum has had to restore one of his damaged murals.


This “City in a Garden” mural is now complete, and you can take it in anytime on the 300 block of Virginia Avenue. As for a formal opening party, Goldbaum says, “There will be an opening event but the date hasn't been set yet.”

Related: Block-Long Mural By Local Artist Amos Goldbaum Completed on Noe Valley Street [SFNews]

Top image: @AmosGoldbaum via Twitter