Born in Kansas City, MO, Schafer received his BA from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and his MFA in sculpture from the University of Texas, Austin. In 1983 he moved to New York, and has divided his time between Los Angeles and New York since then. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles since 2012. Schafer employs sculpture, sound, and works on paper, and is concerned with the intelligibility and translation of language and built space. Often the starting point is a found text or recording.