Richard Brown Baker: Am I right in thinking, Bob, that you make use of the weatherworn surface of the wood? In most cases, you do not—unlike Louise Nevelson, for instance—most of her pieces are constructed of wood and then painted either black or white or gold or something. Yours have paint on them, as you say, like lettering or sort of bands, sometime of color perhaps, but a good portion of them remain weathered wood. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Indiana: It is so, Richard, because the weathered wood was so beautiful that I was just reluctant . . . Now, there are a few which I did stain—I didn’t stain like Louise—but which I did paint black, because the wood was not in such good shape. It had been scarred and disfigured. But where the wood was in good shape I couldn’t resist leaving the natural surface, which of course therefore makes a separation between my painting and the constructions. To be consistent with my painting, my constructions probably should be made of brand new wood which has no patina or age whatsoever. But that’s not how it got started. I found the wood . . .
Richard Brown Baker, Oral history interview with Robert Indiana, 1963 Sept. 12–Nov. 7, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.