Exploring Adaptation: Andrew Mauzey and Jeff Stillion of Circle the Earth

Jeff Stillion and Andy Mauzey

Jeff Stillion and Andrew  Mauzey

Frequent collaborators Andrew Mauzey and Jeff Stillion were inspired to explore adaptation through the genres of poetry and music. Stillion wrote the poems. Mauzey—drawing upon the imagery, themes, and language of these poems—adapted them to song. What you will find here are three of these poetry to song sketches.

Read Jeff Stillion’s poems here: Three Poems by Jeff Stillion

According to Mauzey, “Prosperity” inspired “Last Leaf,” “To P.L” inspired “Light up the Sun,” and “Ms. in Black” inspired “Ms. in Black.”

Listen to Andrew Mauzey’s song adaptations here:

Andrew Mauzey and Jeff Stillion write and perform with Circle the Earth, a Los Angeles-based indie-folk band. You can find their debut album Homespun and follow-up EP Hey! on iTunes. They also have a sporadically updated Facebook page: facebook.com/Circle.the.Earth.

Check out more from this duo:
Circle the Earth’s music is also available on iTunes.
Andrew Mauzey

Andrew Mauzey

Andrew Mauzey is a writer and musician living in Southern California. He has degrees from New York University and Chapman University and teaches writing and literature at Biola University. He has worked with a number of entertainment groups including Nickelodeon, TBS, MTV, Cosmic Entertainment, Make a Film Foundation, and Ireland’s Hot Press Magazine, and he occasionally teaches screenwriting for Relativity Education, a division of Relativity Media. He is a founding member of Circle the Earth, a Los Angeles-based indie-folk band.


Jeff Stillion

Jeff Stillion


Jeff Stillion is a Los Angeles-based poet. His works are largely informed by his faith, relational tensions, and stylistically offer attempts to build upon the aesthetic appeal of poetry. Other writing avenues include expressions in folk song and philosophical non-fiction. He is a founding member of Circle the Earth—a Los Angeles-based indie-folk band—and has launched a variety of online blogs and podcasts discussing art and culture.  

  What’s your art? For publication consideration, submit to TreeHouse at artstreehouse@gmail.com

“The Oscars” by K. Dana King

In honor of this weekend’s Hollywood film festivities, we bring you a piece that poet/writer K. Dana King began crafting during last year’s Academy Awards broadcast.

K. Dana King

K. Dana King


K. Dana King holds a rather ancient B.A. in English and History from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. She also attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in Literature and Writing Studies at Cal State University San Marcos. She is the proud parent of two interesting, intelligent, and talented young adults and one ornery cat.



The Oscars

By K. Dana King

Banter. Banter happens. Banter: “an exchange of light, playful, teasing remarks; good-natured raillery.” Banter works best when it comes from a warm heart. Self-deprecatory banter works. Improvisatory, self-deprecatory, warmhearted banter is real and powerful. We are illusions of ourselves who create illusions of others for often illusory purposes. Who are you wearing? Whose skin have you put on tonight in order to be yourself? It’s about the dresses. You tune in early and record all the channels. Later, other illusions who have become caricatures of themselves will roast the artistic illusions. Roast means to severely criticize. Banter is kind; roasting is unkind. Is this an artistic community? It is. It is an artistic community with patrons who exact tribute with the force of the Florentine aristocracy during the Renaissance. They were into clothes as well. Back then the richness of your attire reflected your power. Oh wait. That hasn’t changed. Or has it? Who dresses you? Whose riches have you borrowed? Is it hard to take yourself seriously as an artist when, in order to receive accolades on your work, you must parade your false fronts for cloying questions? Can women open a film? Indeed they can, and they can win awards for their craft. As long as they put on a pretty dress, high heels, and borrowed gems.


What’s your art?

Submit your work for publication consideration to artstreehouse@gmail.com.


An Interview with Artist Travis Gramberg

An Interview with Artist Travis Gramberg

Travis Gramberg

Travis Gramberg

“I find enjoyment in art by changing the typical life of an organism. An aesthetically pleasing form that allows for functioning living organisms to reside, develop, laugh, escape, or express. The true joy of my work resides in the life that is generated from my creation. The excitement develops once it is subjected to the environment; when the art work is no longer under my control, but under the control of insects, vegetation, mammals, seasons, and time.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               — Travis Gramberg


TreeHouse: Let’s talk a bit about the plants from your designs first. It seems that you tend towards using cacti and succulents. Is there a reason for that? And where do you buy or grow them? Do you keep them around to mature for a while or stick them right into the design once you have them?

Travis Gramberg: I enjoy using cacti, succulents, and epiphytes (air ferns) in my work mainly because of their unique sculptural qualities. Most of the plants I have are gifts from people; succulents and air ferns have that ability to be snapped from the mother plant and passed on to someone else. Because of this I usually have a handful of plants lying around that I am taking care of.  I live in an apartment so I really only try to keep around what I will be using. That being said, my patio is completely overcrowded with plant material. In some cases I have to shop specifically for the exact plant I need based on color, height, and water level. For example, in the mask “Rusty Mug” I had to drive to a number of different nurseries to find the right look for her eyes.


TH: How did you start creating your plant designs? What inspired you to begin your first project?

TG: My first “botanical sculpture” was created in my ceramics class at Cal Poly Pomona. I created a series of pots that were inspired by the shapes and patterns of succulents, and then I planted those succulents in these sculptures. I wanted to simplify the potted plant to one piece of work, a perfect unity between the pot and the plant. From there this concept of “living art” developed into an obsession for success covering various projects. My favorite part about using plants for art work is that the piece is never truly finished. The art is capable of growing, blooming, and dying.


TH: The planters you use are almost like works of art in themselves. Do you make them as well or are they found/purchased?

TG: I try to stay consistent with concept, materials, and process when creating a series of artwork, so it depends on the situation. Sometimes I am driven by vision and utilize a material to create it. A good example would be the “Botanical Pottery” pieces; I cut and shaped the artwork out of leftover scraps of polycarbonate plastic. These were leftover scraps from “The Water Diamond” installation I created at Cal Poly Pomona in 2011. I then coated the polycarbonate plastic in dyed resin. The two masks were found objects. While doing some yard work I broke a strawberry pot and it spun around and a face looked at me. I picked up the face and stored it in my room for about 6 months. Until one day, walking around on a job site, I stumbled upon an old emergency plane landing strip that had been mauled by a rototiller. I saw a face in it and was inspired to start a mask series. The broken strawberry pot and emergency landing strip eventually became the focal point for “Ugly Stick” and “Rusty Mug.” I think this was a long way of saying there is no real plan, I just roll with what material or goal I have.


TH: Tell us about your creation process: do ideas pop into your head and you set out to make them, or do the ideas come from viewing the plant and/or object first?

TG: Ideas pop into my head and I set out to make them. Sometimes I literally see the pieces in a dream, and in my dream I will be enviously looking at the art work wishing I had come up with it, and then I awaken and realize I did come up with that art piece. When creating “Living Art” I usually have the sculpture completed before I go looking for the right plant.  Very rarely do I create a sculpture because of a plant.


TH: Besides your living sculptures, you also sketch. You mentioned you started that back up while on a recent trip to Europe after a bit of a hiatus from drawing. What inspired you to do that – the travel? The places you visited?

TG: Travel definitely played a large role for me to start sketching again. While traveling I have a desire to jot down everything new I see; plus I am on vacation, which gives me ample time to draw. But overall I would say I wanted to get back into drawing as more of a discipline for myself. Many great teachers and mentors have reinforced the mindset that success to any artist starts with a strong concept of sketching and proportions. I practice composition, proportions, color theory, and personal style while I sketch. Sketching is a moment where I feel no pressure about the finished product, it is just fun. It is amazing the amount of inspiration I do get from traveling though, it is a necessity in my life.


TH: Is there anything about your position in landscape architecture that lends itself to the creation of your living sculptures? Do you find inspiration for your personal art within the designs you help create for clients?

TG: Yes, I truly do. What is great about my current position in landscape architecture is the amount of knowledge I can access within the company. My newest sculptures would not even be possible without the help from my coworkers. If I have any questions about plant material I can go to an expert across the office. I am very appreciative of how my profession is influencing my personal artwork and how my artwork influences my profession.


TH: Do you sell your work or have any plans to do so in the future?

TG: I do sell my artwork. Usually when someone approaches me about buying my artwork they truly love and desire to have it. I think that is the goal of creating, to pass something on to someone that will give them joy. I would not enjoy creating things if all of them ended up collecting dust in dark corners of my room. My biggest joy as an artist is visiting someone’s house that has purchased my art and seeing it almost for the first time again. It’s fun to go back into the time I was creating that piece of work and reflect on what was going on in my life.


View Travis’ online portfolio at http://issuu.com/teegee17/docs/siv.art.scapes/1 or follow him on Instagram at http://instagram.com/travgrams/.