In the Spotlight: Christian Musselman

Spotlight on Christian Musselman

Denver Mid-Mod Mash-Up: The Story Behind its Creation

Earlier this year, Modern In Denver approached local illustrator Christian Musselman — creator of our first illustration cover in the winter of 2015 — about putting something together for our 10th anniversary issue. The result is “Denver Mid-Mod Mash-Up” — seen below and in our Summer 2018 issue. He answered some questions for us about how “Denver Mid-Mod Mash-Up” came together and also points out some of what he calls the “Easter eggs” in the image.

If you love this piece, stay tuned to Modern In Denver’s Instagram — we’ll be giving away two signed prints in the coming days. To see more of Musselman’s work and purchase a print of “Denver-Mod Mash-Up” click here.

Modern in Denver 10th Anniversary cover by Christian Musselman

What Was The inspiration for This Composition?

I had seen a couple of images by the illustrator Jim Flora that utilized the stacking of different style buildings. In particular, some of his work for Fortune magazine. Flora was well known for his whimsical illustration style — almost cartoon-like, but very sophisticated in terms of style — in the 1940s and ’50s. It’s very different from mine, but one particular image he did prompted me to consider what it might be like to vertically stack buildings of different styles. Most of the mid-century modern homes I illustrate are very horizontal, so this was a fun way to create a more a vertical image while using some of the most iconic home styles: butterfly roof, international style, flat-roof style, low slung and Wexler style roofline. I thought it would be fun to stack them up as though they were part of a vertical community while playing off their different iconic styling, furnishings, lighting, etc.



The image [in the 10th anniversary issue] is obviously set in Colorado — what are some of the special local elements you included?

William Logan [Modern in Denver publisher] had seen another illustration I had done for Palm Springs. Together, we wanted to develop an illustration that would embody the stacked homes concept, but make it more appropriate to Denver. So there is a rendition of a Cliff May home inspired by a Harvey Park neighborhood home. I also used elements like aspen trees, cairn stacked red rocks like you see on hiking trails in the area, a distant Denver skyline, and the Sculptured House off I-70. Throughout the image we used some elements that specifically relate to Modern in Denver’s 10th anniversary. Many of the people in the image have MID magazines in their hands — reading them or passing them to other characters. There’s the “10” that sits on the breeze block wall. Even two guys lighting the 10 candles on a cake in the International Style home.




Kris Scott

Christian Musselman

Jim Flora (Left)


MID Winter 2015 cover by Musselman. Click the photo above to read his featured article (shown right).