Art21 Extended Play

Rackstraw Downes Paints West Texas

Rackstraw Downes Texas Hills

Rackstraw Downes in Presidio, Texas. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2013. Cinematography by Bob Elfstrom.

“The American romance with the untouched landscape is sort of foreign to me. I like the landscape that has been modified.” —Rackstraw Downes

In today’s Exclusive, filmed in late 2010, artist Rackstraw Downes discusses his interest in painting altered landscapes, such as the sand hills overlooking Presidio, Texas where ATV tire tracks cover the ground and a cell tower rises in the distance. While packing up his oil paints and easel after a day of working en plein air, Downes reflects on how growing up in the United Kingdom influenced his perception of the American West. Downes is shown working on Presidio: In the Sand Hills Looking East with ATV Tracks & Water Tower (2012).