N. J. Stanley: I have read that your use of lettering and words and numbers originated with your putting them on your early, totemlike constructions made of found objects, the sculptures called herms.
Robert Indiana: Yes, on the constructions. And that was because I didn’t have money to buy large canvases at that time. The words first appeared on my herms, and therefore they had to be short and terse. If I use a word on a herm it’s a one-word poem. I collected material for the herms from the streets of New York. One day I was walking down the street and there were hundreds of these iron wheels. I went racing back to get my van. I still have hundreds of wheels. I’ve returned to sculpture in the last few years, because now washed up on the rocks of Vinalhaven are marvelous pieces of wood. They are different from the pieces I used in New York, and maybe a bit more exciting. They’ve been kissed with the sea—and who knows?
N. J. Stanley, "Robert Indiana at Sixty: Twenty-One Hoosier Homes and Other Symbols." Arts Indiana 11 (February 1989), p. 11.