SAN BENITO — Willie Rosales Jr. grew up in San Benito, and he never imagined the Valley would become a hub for space travel.
Inspired by all the SpaceX rocket activity near Boca Chica Beach, along with Elon Musk’s vision for the area, Rosales decided to turn his home into a tribute.
“My intentions are for travelers to visit San Benito, and I wanted to pay homage to Elon Musk,” he said.
“He has come into our market with a great vision, focus, determination and generosity for the Rio Grande Valley and its people. Our Boca Chica Beach is on the world stage now. I believe Elon’s efforts will change everything moving forward,” he said.
The idea for this tribute started with recent travels – and just blasted off.
“In 2020, I felt totally disconnected from family, friends and co-workers all due to the COVID restrictions,” Rosales said.
“But now, the family has been vaccinated and you start seeing people, start eating out and my favorite hobby is traveling,” he said.
Rosales recently traveled to the Big Bend National Park area with his best friends.
He then visited Marfa, Texas, where he went stargazing, and he said he was inspired by the moon as well as the artistry in the city.
Rosales also wanted to start more murals in San Benito.
“San Benito has the RBG one, but this is the first house,” he said.
“The whole city of Marfa and its art inspired me to commission Alejandro Gonzalez to create the murals,” Rosales said.
He wanted a Rio Grande Valley artist, which is why he went with Gonzalez.
Rosales’ house was just finished recently.
He wanted the logos on his house as a starting point but knew he wanted a painting of Musk as well.
The paint job took around five days.
“Last night he gave the final touches,” Rosales said on Monday.
“People have already come by and stopped to take pictures from Weslaco, McAllen, Mission,” he said.
Gonzalez has done another SpaceX mural in Downtown Brownsville.
He said he hopes to create more murals in San Benito in order to see more artists present their work.
“I want to push more art in the Valley; the city of San Benito has a lot of blank walls,” Gonzalez said.
Rosales has more ideas to come for his house, but for now, this is the most he has done, which he hopes will grab people’s attention.
Rosales said he considers Musk to be a generous man and has friends who work for SpaceX. Rosales said he believes Musk is the future and an example of improvement.
Musk announced in April he would be donating $30 million to the Brownsville area: $20 million going to schools in Cameron County and the other $10 million to revitalize Brownsville, home to one of the company’s rocket-production facilities and close to the launch site in Boca Chica.
Musk has said he wants to develop Boca Chica into a city called Starbase.
“Who knows, maybe someday Elon visits the “house of space?” Rosales said.