The idea of the first Dream happened very early on. It’s a pivotal canvas and a crucial one to me. It changed the entire course of my life, and forms a bridge with my earlier work. My paintings now tend to be very bright and high-colored. The Dream is still dark, and full of the blackness of the paintings I did when I was very depressed on my arrival in New York. It’s a comment on the superficiality of American life; its images are taken from pin-ball machines and the neon glare and the road signs of America. When I did that painting, I had no idea its theme would occupy most of my life.
— Robert Indiana
Marius B. Péladeau and Martin Dibner, Indiana's Indianas: A Twenty-Year Retrospective of Paintings and Sculpture from the Collection of Robert Indiana (Rockland, Maine: William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, 1982), p. 5.