Robert Indiana: . . . in 1953, I was in Paris. So I am again slipping two decades back instead of one. And of course in ’63 I was still on Coenties Slip. I had another two years to go and DIE there probably does refer to Kennedy’s death.
Susan Elizabeth Ryan: And no one else’s that you can think of?
Indiana: Well I had a dreadful time in Paris, let’s put it that way . . . But, no, I think that’s just a reference to Kennedy.
Ryan: Was color significant?
Indiana: I think that, you see what’s happening, with the exception of the “1,” what’s happening with my colors is I am fairly consistent with all of my colors. It relates to the ten stages of man’s life. And these colors reflect what colors were used in my first portfolio, which was the Numbers . . . It was my first show in Europe, you see. So I have kept the colors of my Numbers fairly consistent.
Excerpt from Susan Elizabeth Ryan, interview with Robert Indiana, May 5, 1992, Robert Indiana: Figures of Speech Archive, 1987–2005.