MUKILTEO, Wash. — Among an industrial park hidden away in Mukilteo, the only thing that stands out is a giant paper airplane, an homage to Boeing and Paine Field up the road, but also a hint of what happens behind the warehouse doors.
“We feel that our diversity is our edge,” said Mike Dillon, the man behind Dillon Works, “the fact that we think outside the box, and we can come up with unique ideas.”
Those ideas are bursting off the walls and ceilings inside the building that houses Dillon Works, and often, nothing is what it seems.
“When I was young, I liked to put things together and build things,” said Dillon. “I did magic when I was young and actually built illusions.”
And as Dillon got older, the illusions just got bigger and better.
“I decided to move to L.A., began making commercials down there. I also worked in the arts and props department, worked with filmmaker Jim Cameron before he was ‘James Cameron,'” he said.
From movies, he moved to Disney as an “Imagineer,” making creations for Epcot and Disneyland Tokyo.
“I didn’t go to college, and I actually consider my five years at Disney as my experience, learning it on the job,” Dillon said.
He took all of that experience with him back to Seattle, starting his business out of a relative’s garage and eventually moving to Mukilteo, where 50 full-time employees are helping to spark new creations.
“Our talent pool here is very diverse. We have artisans that have worked in theater, they’ve worked in television, museums, and construction,” Dillon said.
Much of the work begins with a small-scale model and blossoms into something big, sometimes huge, like a swarm of jelly fish at the National Aquarium, a monster truck crashing through a wall for a video game promo, and displays in and outside museums, hospitals, department stores, and theme parks.
A lot of their works are also seen locally in Washington at car washes, libraries and airports.
And after all these years, Dillon is convinced that if you can think it up in your head, he and his team can bring it into the world.