Zip Box 3 was executed while Barker worked as a pawnbroker's assistant on Portobello Road. By this time Barker was already married (1961) and he and his wife lived in the same warehouse as the artist Richard Smith on Bath Street, London, EC1. Each artist had their separate studios and living floors. In 1963, 'Barker directed his attention to much more fundamental issues about what kind of object could be said to constitute a piece of sculpture ... and (here he) represents the most basic kinds of object known to humanity: the container... the spectator is presented with nothing but the exterior of the receptacle, and is asked to visualise the presumed contents concealed from view' (A.J. Fermon & M. Livingstone, Clive Barker Sculpture Catalogue Raisonné 1958-2000, Milan, 2002, p. 17). Barker created only six unique Zip Box works which were all made from black leather and zippers on block board wood. They were created from his designs by carpenters at Bird & Davis, London and covered in leather by a professional upholsterer with a workshop off Portobello Road.
Barker recalls the time he first met the professional leather man in Portobello, 'I walked in and talked to him one day. I asked him if he would stretch leather over a box for me if I brought it in. Of course he thought I was a bit crazy ... So I brought a little box in and he stretched it up' (Clive Barker in conversation with Peter Fuller in 1975).
'The use of leather was perhaps also inspired by the masculine ''biker'' look (popularised by Marlon Brando in the Wild Ones as the sign of a sexy youthful independence from inherited standards of polite behaviour' (ibid. p. 10). Zips, both silk-screen and boxes, are considered Barker's first Pop works.