Meet Gabriel Valles, Creative Partner

Experienced artist lends Mentorwings to Expanse students

When Expanse signed on its first creative students, Michael Strong knew exactly who to contact: Gabriel Valles, founder of MentorWings Art, an online arts and media school. This artist and mentor is on a mission: to reinvent the apprenticeship system while eliminating the bureaucratic and financial obstacles present in today’s education system.  

Gabriel’s students benefit from his years of background and experience, which started formally at the Joe Kubert School in Narrative Art and Animation, where students drew 12 hours per day. He went on to work as an animator (2-D and 3-D), art director, concept artist, and character designer and illustrator for feature films, videogames and toys. Gabriel’s credits now include Warner Brothers Feature Animation, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Readers Digest, Marvel, Activision and Nickelodeon. (No Zoom call is dull with Gabriel, whose home office in Austin includes a display of figurines and creations from the world of animation.)

Expanse students are eager to get the most out of their mentored experience. A student in Egypt had an idea for an anime-based game. With Gabriel’s support, that student is turning the idea into reality; he’s created a user interface, learned about user experience and even worked on his drawing skills, useful for a game designer. He may even meet a successful former student of Gabriel’s.

Another Expanse student based in London likes to sketch. Under Gabriel’s (mentor)wing, she is now working on improving her art technique and storytelling ability. Her mom comments, “My daughter Farrah is very shy. She loves art and design, but hasn’t been very sure of herself. Since Gabriel has been guiding and teaching Farrah, she has become much more confident and has been spending more time drawing and designing. She enjoys sharing her work and learning and experimenting with new techniques. I’ve never seen her focussed in the way she is when learning with Gabriel, and he is empathetic with her shyness, which is great! She looks forward to each session with Gabriel.” 

As Expanse continues its roll-out in 2021, we anticipate that Gabriel will onboard even more creatives who will flourish under his guidance


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