Barbaralee Diamonstein: Some critics have said that you’re a traditional painter, and some others have said that heraldry is the term that can be applied to your work. Would you accept either of those references for your pictorial symbolism? How would you describe yourself?
Robert Indiana: It’s difficult. Obviously, I’m not a traditional painter in the way of English landscape painting, for instance. I am a traditional painter, I suppose, now because I use oil on canvas, which is pretty shocking to most young people. They hardly know how to cope with that situation. If that’s traditional, yes.
Diamonstein: How do you paint, by the way?
Indiana: I paint flat. I have a painting table. I do not use an easel. And my paints are mixed, so that they’re the consistency of rather heavy cream. And I paint without masking tape or any devices like that. I don’t use the stencils for painting. Each stroke is put down by hand.
Diamonstein: Could you do on to describe what pictorial symbolism in your work means to you, by usual labels and definitions?
Indiana: There’s one thing for sure, and that is, both temperamentally and artistically, I’m hard-edge, with maybe some soft parts here and there, but hard-edge without and doubt describes my work. I’m a colorist. I’m not interested in graduation of tone. Color is what I consider my forte.
Excerpt from Barbarelee Diamonstein. “Robert Indiana.” In Inside New York’s Art World, pp. 151–66. New York: Rizzoli, 1979.