Never too late to learn: Raye Ebensteiner

Creativity from cooking to lamp design

As Frank Sinatra’s satin voice resounds from the kitchen’s sound system and bounces off of white gallery-like walls, senior Raye Ebensteiner unpacks a paper bag of groceries onto a granite counter top.

Raye gently pulls her brunette hair into a high ponytail and turns away from an open recipe book to preheat the oven.

Her dad, Brian, begins to peel a squash for supper.

In Raye’s ethereal green eyes, nearly every opportunity is a “creative outlet.”

From forking out noodle-like strands from squashes, to re-organizing the contemporary furniture in her home, to photographing the “raw, unguarded moments of humanity” across the world, Raye finds art to both appreciate and to create.

“It’s really experimental,” she said. “I love trying new things and that goes for everything. If it’s there, why not try it? It’s slightly intimidating but I think that’s why I do it: to get over it. It’s an exercise to get over the fear of failure.”

As a personal project in 2015, Raye began “Project Oh I Could Do That,” as a cultural commentary on how  “original, ground-breaking artistic movements” are misunderstood and unappreciated.

Raye has submitted her photography to Scholastic Art competitions and has won 12 awards in total over the last two years.

Four of her photos have hung in the Regis Center at the University of Minnesota.

Her parents have also included her in the occasional redesigning of their home; they consult with her about the artwork on the walls and the mid-century modern furniture.

“Every wall of our house is covered with original photographs and original art. There are no prints from a store,” Jo-Anne said.

Therefore, with convenient design opportunities within her home, Raye has developed a fascination for interior design as well as sculpture and product design.

In fact, Raye designed a collection of products this fall for her college applications.

While applying to a variety of art schools, both within the United States as well as abroad, Raye’s college applications significantly strayed from the Common Application. In addition to writing personal essays, Raye was required to create and submit art portfolios. Her favorite challenge was when she took a piece from her portfolio and reconstructed it into a different medium.

As the art from her portfolio, Raye chose a black and white photograph of a man smoking a cigarette. Then, she created a desktop lamp that resembled the cigarette.

Her submission of this particular piece assisted in her acceptance into Parson’s School of Design.

Raye has decided to attend to Rhode Island School of Design in the fall. 

She plans to major in documentary photography, as well as minor in international business at RISD’s sister school, Brown University.


About Sierra Takushi

As a junior, Sierra is a staff writer and photos/graphics editor for The Talon. She has a quirky fascination with slam and spoken word poetry and finds straight angle shapes (like squares) visually pleasing. Sierra enjoys exploring different types of writing and literature and likes to post her photography frequently on Instagram.

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