Robert Indiana: . . . in ’54 I was in London so that again is slipping two decades back and in ’64 . . . now here Coenties appears, the Slip is not there, but I still was on Coenties Slip. And in ’64 was the appearance of my EAT sign at the New York World’s Fair.
Susan Elizabeth Ryan: And red and yellow and black are?
Indiana: Refer to the colors in the original Four and for me the 4 is a dangerous number . . . I’m not sure that I can sit here and recall exactly why I arrived at that, but first of all the 4 gave me the greatest difficulty as far as composing it within the circle. That’s rather superficial. But numerically 4 to me is a difficult number because it’s sandwiched in between two very beautiful and special numbers . . . 3 and 5. And I just can’t scrape up anything very good for the 4, you see.
Ryan: It doesn’t have any sort of narrative significance? It’s all formal?
Indiana: No, it does. It’s charged with again, memories. Remember I lived in those 21 different houses before I was 17 . . . When two people, which is, most houses have two people who live next to a house with another two people, very frequently there’s a great deal of trouble.
Excerpt from Susan Elizabeth Ryan, interview with Robert Indiana, May 5, 1992, Robert Indiana: Figures of Speech Archive, 1987–2005.