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INTERview with

Jürgen-Kristoffer and Maarja Korstnik in Shaolin temple, China

Jürgen and Maarja Korstnik in Shaolin temple, China 2018

Recently we made a trip together to different towns around Western China, visited Tibetan temples and monasteries hidden from tourists, wandered around the stupas of Kathmandu in Nepal and tried to swim, although without any results, in Pokhara lake. Later you continued travelling with your sister in Northern India. What did you learn from that trip?

All that colourful journey, which I called poetically “the way of heart”, was constantly a process of collecting new experiences and learning from them. Especially in the spiritual sense. In India, as it happened in Rishikesh, I learned some new yoga styles, began to practice ayurveda, trained myself to drive a motorbike around the mountainous landscape and in the end were successful enough to swim in the quick-flowing river of Ganges. I learned to trust people and recognise their contribution and help - maybe more than ever before. It is true that you can never be in trouble when having a trust, so all the people you are going to meet on the way will become your global family.

Jürgen-Kristoffer Korstnik. Maailmapuhuja

The Whisperer of Worlds.
Jürgen-Kristoffer Korstnik

Jürgen-Kristoffer Korstnik. The Whisperer of Worlds.

Spiral of Journey. Jürgen-Kristoffer Korstnik

You see life as a creative meditation. You begin your article “Open journeys around South China” (“Palverändaja. Eestlaste palverännakud laias maailmas”, edited by Martti Kalda, Tammeraamat 2015) with following words: “I am living on this colourful and wonderful, as well as mysterious planet, which is floating in the midst of boundless space and where we are all living now as human beings. I believe everyone of us have his/her own unique and shared world to be expressed and created.” and you finish like this: “Every day may become a wonderful journey of its own kind, exactly the one we are ready to accept.”

Please describe one of the creative days in your life.

Today, 3rd of October, the day I am writing this article, began quite in a creative way. I am describing my creative day as an usual day - like Oskar Luts in his book “Äripäev”. I started my day with preparing sandwiches that looked so abundant and colourful in the end, like a piece of art. From there on the morning brought me to stretching, yoga, some kungfu and qigong exercises - a little bit from each one to create a nice training compost. After this refreshing beginning of the day, it is also good to meditate a bit and continue with creative projects - so that I was doing, making a sound blog and film projects, playing guitar and singing new songs, writing down good ideas to my notebook and then starting to develop them. Often I spend my time observing the life in me and around, talking with my friends and family, walking around in nature or on the streets of old town. Then good ideas will come. Every day is creative and interesting in its potential, having endless and unique possibilities: I even don't remember the day I was feeling bored. To the contrary, I wish there would be more time for discovering and creation in my everyday life.

What is the most difficult and the most lightest moment in your life?

One of my most difficult moments is connected with the lightest moments in life - and it all happened during one day while traveling in Nepal, on February 2018. After 10 days of Vipassana meditation camp, where I needed to meditate about 10 hours every day in silence, and the following intensive stomach virus I got from Kathmandu's local restaurant just few days after the camp, I decided to go hiking with my two new fellows. I had just met them in the meditation camp and now we were walking up the hills in mountainous and quite uninhabited jungle area. Because my body was still covering from the virus, all my energy suddenly finished... Our jungle path was about to reach the destination point in two hours but the road continued to go up and the sun was already setting. I had no energy at all to move on and all my water just finished, leaving me to the road alone, powerless and thirsty. Quickly I fell asleep and woke up in the complete darkness and cold, being aware about the wild predators in the jungle. To my surprise and luck my good Vipassana friend had reached to the village we were about to go together, and borrowed a motorbike there, which he was using now to save me. We arrived safely to the little hilltop village and had a rest. Just after the adventure drama I felt warm healing energy and joy about every little thing around me - about the food and water, vivid fire, freshness of the mountains, starry sky and the life itself. It was a really blissful moment.

Jürgen-Kristoffer Korstnik. Kus ma olen?

Where am I? Jürgen-Kristoffer Korstnik

You are working as a documentary film director and musician. Please compare these creative fields - which are the connecting points and differences?

In either case working with documentary film or music, there need to be some connective topic, story or a feeling behind it. It is forming a whole. Music, however, seems to broaden these borders even more, because it doesn't rely on external images - it rather creates inner images and experiences through its melodic flow, sometimes through lyrics as well. However, the textual narrative may even miss on both genres. When making a documentary film, it seems to be more important for me to observe and value the creative process and go with the “journey”, that may or may not lead to some satisfying result or product. Ofcourse it is good when it happens. This “journey” is even more clearly felt during music making, being filled with surprises and beauty, connecting myself with the creative inner world and outer environment. Also filmmaking can do the same and gives you the opportunity to learn from other people. The creative process is like a journey: we examine, but also enjoy this path we are walking along. If life itself is one big journey and creation, we certainly have no intention to die quickly, in order to “get this business of living done with”? The way of walking on that journey (or the way of seeing) will also determine the quality of life - so it is good to take the most of it, walk the path with courage, beauty and happiness. There is nothing to lose anyway.

Jürgen's portrait. August Künnapuu 2018

Jürgen in Samye monastery, Tibet.
Drawing by: August Künnapu

As a musician, how does your ideal performing place and audience look like?

My ideal performing place is most probably the one where I am feeling good, like being at home. It can be some cosy place, such as cafe or a little stage, where the audience is not standing away from me but is rather invited to interact with music. It may be singing together, playing instruments and being part of the creation, or just sharing a good energy and presence. The audience is always reflecting my emotions and mood while performing - like some kind of magic, it is possible to communicate with each other at the level of pure energy.

It has been very powerful and transparent when I was making street music. In this unique way I have been travelling a lot in many European countries and earning all my money for living by making music. It helped me to understand some important things - the more I pay attention to the relation between music (that I create or mediate) and environment (with all the people there), this is the energy-level communication, the more and more the environment will support my process of creation. I call this phenomena “creating the space”. Thanks to this lesson music has gifted me the will and courage to express myself as an unique source of creation, by creating a loving and healing space for me and everyone. After all we are all original creators - or mediators - and everyone do it in their own way.

You are making a film about your father Raivo Korstnik (1932 – 1992), who was a painter. How is it going?

Documentary film "Talking Paintings of Raivo Korstnik" about my father is one of the most special projects I have ever been involved with, because by knowing about him more I also know more about myself. It happens mostly through his paintings - there is hidden a certain type of symbolism and language that opens up my father's way of thinking and experiencing the world. According to my experience with him I have already put together a little poetic film "Talking Paintings of Raivo Korstnik", but this is just the first step to a longer version film. In the longer version there will be also included the stories of the people who knew him.

Raivo Korstnik. Kännud. Tree Stumps. 1965

Raivo Korstnik. Tree Stumps. Oil on canvas.
58 x 79,5 cm 1965 Art Museum of Estonia

Raivo Korstnik has been in shadow beside other artists, he only made one personal exhibition during his lifetime. Fortunately your sister Maarja Korstnik, together with a galerist Meelis Tammemägi, have put together deep exhibitions of Raivo's art in Tallinn, Pärnu, Tartu, Viinistu and Ruhnu during the last year and a half. Which one is your favourite artwork in his diverse creation?

One of my favourite artworks by Raivo is located now at KUMU art museum - the oil painting called “Tree Stumps”, inspiring me with its pastel colours and the symbolism of floating. Here the realism and surrealism are mixed together in a form of wild beach landscape, that was also one of the most beloved places to be visited by my art-loving family. My oldest childhood memories are originated from here, Vääna-Jõesuu, as well as the only memories I have about my father.

Please recommend one little known documentary film, a feature film and an animation film to the diligent readers of Epifanio.

  • Documentary film:
    Kumaré (USA, 2012; rež. Vikram Gandhi)
  • Feature film:
    Castaway on the Moon (South-Korea, 2009; rež. Lee Hae-jun)
  • Animation film:
  • The Red Turtle / La Tortue Rouge (France, Belgium, Japan; 2016; dir. Michaël Dudok de Wit)


editor of Epifanio and painter




The stripes of clouds
are crossing the sky
Like the waves of sound
they're having wings to fly

Flying so light and free
they pass all the countries
And everywhere they see
are new doors, new entries

The time is always right
if you follow your dreams
Your weight becomes light
if you believe it's real

What is real is the dream
of the stripes of clouds
That's all inside of me (and you)
however it may sound

We are here to follow dreams
we are here to observe the seas
And surf the waves of life
now our weight becomes so light

Jürgen Korstnik on Hua Shan mountain

Jürgen-Kristoffer in China on mount Hua Shan 2018



Through the valleys
through my heart
I'll find the way to realize all my dreams

Through the valleys
from light to dark
we'll find the way to return Home again

Just going further
I am going far
and climb up hills to see my world outside

While moving closer
to who we are
we'll find the will to return Home again

And I wonder: When?
When we'll return Home again?


Now I know
why I'm sitting here beside the fire
Listening to the sounds in the air

Now I go
on and leaving all behind - desires
Breathing in the “Now” in laugh and tears

In every day
there's some light in the simple things
and you may ask “Why are they there?”

In every way
it is all about the way of seeing
life that's all around and only here