THE INDIAN is coming. His name is Connecticut.
He is sharp-eyed, patient, muscular, long-haired and unsmiling. If he stood up -- which he won't -- he'd be 70 feet tall.
His arrival is still moons away. But when the days grow long again, and flowers bloom in Rock Creek Park, he will suddenly appear.
Mostly he will watch. He will gaze down on the lions that guard the Connecticut Avenue Bridge. He will impassively observe the cars that glide between them. All day and all night he will peer into the city.
His observation post at Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue NW, though an unlikely place for public art, is very close to the wall already made famous by John Bailey's temporary mural of sweet Marilyn Monroe.
Connecticut, the Indian, will be hard to miss.
His handsome head is 10 feet tall; the sinews of his mighty arms are telephone-pole thick. Various local bureaucrats, insurance sellers, engineers, landlord Jay Talpalar, his tenants and his neighbors, Charles and Roi of Charles the First, must first give their approval, and then, sometime in the spring, the Great Spirit willing, Connecticut's enormous hands will clutch the rooftop parapet above Sherry's liquor store at 2600 Connecticut Ave. NW.
He will stay there for some months. Nearby, in a cramped garage, he is now being built by Paul Albert DiPasquale, a young sculptor who thinks big.
The style of Connecticut is entirely traditional. But his materials aren't. He is made out of an isocyanate foam, a beige and bubbly substance that DiPasquale sprays on a wooden armature. Once the foam has hardened, the sculptor carves it into shape with a butcher's knife. "It comes out looking like cauliflower," says DiPasquale. But after it's been carved, sanded into smoothness and hardened by its coating of epoxy and weatherproof Fiberglas, it looks less like foam than flesh.
"I think I'm going to paint him," DiPasquale said. "But I'm not yet sure."
Why a giant Indian?
And then again, why not?
DiPasquale, 31, is a former furniture designer, woodworker and teacher, who once made his living building architectural models. "For years," he says, "I've dreamed of working at the scale not of people, but of buildings. But you can't do that until you've done it. So I put the thought away until I fell in love with the rooftop above Sherry's. At first I thought of making a giant little kid, clambering over the parapet, playing among the buildings. Then I thought of a woman dressing behind a screen. But those ideas seemed campy. I wanted something noble. That's how I came up with Connecticut."
Paul Albert DiPasquale, who once called himself Paul Albert, has made other larger-than-life-size figures. Among them are Diana, a 9-foot-tall dancer-huntress, whose skin is royal blue. (She recently appeared at the Hecht Co. store at Fair Oaks Mall.) He has also fashioned 8-foot-tall Hernando (who is sitting in a bathtub and once was observed bathing at the WPA), and 7-foot Berenice, who is a figurehead (the boat's prow that she graces juts out of the wall of DiPasquale's living room). Connecticut is considerably bigger.
And he is being funded in a most ingenious way.
Building monumental public sculpture is, of course, expensive. Connecticut's materials, DiPasquale figures, have already cost him $10,000. For the year of thought and labor invested in his statue, the sculptor thinks he should receive another $15,000.
Though the building's walls form an odd 70-degree angle, the statue's thumbs and arms have been designed so that Connecticut is capable of clutching at the parapet of any 90-degree roof. DiPasquale hopes to sell him for $25,000, and see him permanently installed. Meanwhile, however, he is out $10,000. So he's come up with this:
He has made a small edition of 50 signed-and-numbered etchings. They show Connecticut on watch. Artist DiPasquale calls his print "a dividend." "The print is for sale," he writes in a prospectus, "at $225. It is a dividend because I will pay back the investor $200 upon sale or cumulative leasing of the sculpture. Thus, for $25, the investor:
" -- is supporting a major work of public art . . .
" -- will own a quality etching in a limited edition . . .
" -- has invested in a dividend which gains value as the sculpture gains notoriety, which is sure to be immediate."
Connecticut isn't heavy. Though his elbows are 25 feet apart, he doesn't weigh much more than 1,000 pounds. Talpalar has been promised that the installation will do no damage to his building.
Though Connecticut's hair is long and thick and braided -- and not elegantly styled -- Charles and Roi next door say they welcome his appearance. So do Jules and Roberta Stopak, who run Sherry's liquor store. "I don't know if he'll bring in any business or not," said Jules Stopak, "but you have to admit it's a fantastic idea."