. . . they [words] were very suggestive of important things in my life. It’s a peculiar way to approach the subject and not one I would necessarily encourage, but it’s still there, and that is [that] the brevity of my words was dictated by the shape of the wooden beams that I found, because that’s where the words began. In other words, I couldn’t use words of more than four or five letters . . . I think CHIEF was my lengthiest word. Those columns which I found in those demolished buildings around me on Coenties Slip—it’s not something I invented; it’s not a form that I particularly sought out; it was a form that was there for the taking. All I had to do was walk out and drag these things back into my studio. It was a time when I was very, very low in the pocket, and this simply represented raw material that I could use.
— Robert Indiana
Donald B. Goodall, “Conversations with Robert Indiana,” in Robert L. B. Tobin, William Katz, and Donald B. Goodall, Robert Indiana (Austin: University of Texas, 1977), p. 33.