“Numbers fill my life. They fill my life even more than love. We are immersed in numbers from the moment we’re born. Love? Love is like the cherry on top of the whipped cream. Our very lives are structured on numbers. Birthdays, age, addresses, money—everywhere you turn, there are numbers. Your shirt has six buttons. The room has four walls. Numbers surround us. It’s endless. Now you may not be intrigued by this, but look at those who are mathematically inclined. Take the astronomers. How many numbers have the astronomers got? My God, the universe is a veritable sky full of numbers for them. If you happen to feel that love is as equally important as numbers, then you’re an idealist, a dreamer. Everything we do is reckoned by numbers. Every day, every minute of every day—here, look at my wrist watch. Every second is a different number. Numbers are seething around us. Don’t you recognize them?
. . . I’ve been involved with numbers much longer than I have been with love. My love affair with numbers goes way, way back. People don’t stop to think how beautiful numbers really are, perhaps for the same reason people don’t stop to think how beautiful words are. Other cultures have thought about it . . . In our culture we have words—marks the typewriter makes—and they’re not very attractive, are they? It’s the role of the artist—my particular role, if you will—to make words and numbers very, very special.”
Published in 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.