Austin Shafkowitz was born and raised in the suburban sprawl known as Long Island, where he is based, today. in 2018 he earned a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. Primarily taking place on the road, Austin’s work deals with themes of solitude, loneliness, and the desire to connect. Parts of his most recent work, (I Wish You) All The Best, were featured in the exhibition Mentors at the SVA gallery in New York in March, 2018.
(I Wish You) All The Best
Today I’ll head west
So please wish me your best
But my sorrows I’ll tell
Before I bid farewell
When I was four I ran away
Went to buy a boat that day
Planned to sail the ocean blue
Took a friend with me too
But I never left Manhasset bay
Had dreams of leaving every day
Than at 16 sat in this seat
Gas and brake done with my feet
The USA been ramblin’ round
Don’t care for any city town
No money, home, just love to give
I’ll always question how I live
(I Wish You) All the Best is a project about running away from home.
While making this work it is not uncommon for me to spend 16 or 17 hours a day driving. Long days provide a sense of accomplishment but also a sense of clarity. Podcasts and music help pass time but the hours of unrelenting silence allow for a flushing out of my brain providing a more emotional engagement with my fleeting surroundings. I can take my time to process the days, weeks, months, or years occurrences. Subtleties that pass by like the sign near Livingston, Montana that said “Love God, Love your Country, Hate your government.”, Or the lady in Westport, Washington who served me iced tea when I asked for coffee. However, sometimes it's the major things like my fathers abrupt passing eight years ago and the period of self exile that followed, personal relationships, or the never ending state of flux that’s enveloped my financial stability since I decided to wander the country many times over. The silent hours of driving are what solve my problems and create them.
To view more of Austin Shafkowitz’s work please visit his website.