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Artist Scott Hildebrandt nestled a tiny Union Station model within this 1920s Gilbert mantel clock. Photo by Matt Nager

This Englewood Artist Is Making Stunning Dioramas

Scott Hildebrandt, aka Mister Christmas, builds tin displays that make a big impact.

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Put Santa’s hat on a mad scientist’s head (and a little Dr. Seuss in his heart), and you get Scott Hildebrandt. In his Englewood studio, the artist injects life into antiques, replacing their insides with handmade displays animated by LED lights and hidden motors. The vignettes, often born of Hildebrandt’s childhood memories, sit about 140 times smaller than the real things in vessels like retired boomboxes and transistor radios. His early creations were less complex: The 47-year-old’s first miniature, built 10 years ago as a holiday gift to his girlfriend, was a simple cardboard village. Charmed, she nicknamed Hildebrandt “Mister Christmas” and showed the work of art to friends, who wanted their own. By 2016, he’d quit his IT job to fulfill orders full time. Collectors drop up to $10,000 for his large dioramas, such as an electrified cityscape inside the covering of an airplane engine, but smaller designs go for as little as $175. See them November 30 through December 2 at Denver’s Holiday Flea at Union Station, and make time for repeat viewings. “They’re so small,” Hildebrandt says, “you’re not going to catch all the details the first time through.”

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