THE CLUTTER OF GAS STATIONS,
fast-food joints and shopping centers along Route 7 in Falls Church doesn't exactly conjure up that old-time country feeling, so it's not surprising that motorists stop and gawk at what has come to be known as "the pig statue."
The life-size aluminum sculpture of a farmer with five hungry porkers gobbling from a trough, officially titled "The Man Slopping Pigs," is the brainchild of automobile dealer Don Beyer Sr. and his artist brother Richard.
"We were having a discussion over a bottle of 101-proof Wild Turkey late one night and the inspiration just came to us," says Don Beyer.
Richard Beyer, who lives and works in Seattle, produced molds for the sculpture on the West Coast and had the casting done at his son Charles' foundry in Moscow, Idaho.
The sculpture itself, which weighs about a ton, was trucked to Falls Church and installed outside the Don Beyer Volvo dealership in May 1984.
"My brother Richard gave a speech and everything," Beyer says. "He did a great job . . . welded the statue onto a concrete base that weighs several thousand pounds. He made it really child-proof. That's good, because I've seen a half-dozen kids climbing on it at one time."
Beyer says the sculpture cost about $25,000 but was worth it.
"It's become a landmark," he laughs. "People say things like, 'The Giant Food is right across from the pig statue.' Stuff like that. We have yet to hear one negative reaction. Everyone gets a kick out of it."
Even so, it does seem the statue has lost some of its artistic cachet.
"A while back, when the Redskins' offensive linemen were big heroes, those guys dressed like cheerleaders -- the 'Hogettes' -- would come out regularly to have pictures taken with the statue," he says wistfully. "But I haven't seen much of them lately." ::