• Kate Lynch
  • Ross Ferguson
  • Isabel van Zeller
  • shadeh kavousian
  • Jet Braas
  • Mark de Lange

As we dive deep into the meaning of OPTIMISM, we’re shedding light on one of the fiercest forms of self-expression: Poetry.

We’ve recently joined heads with three game-changing, non-conforming voices who are using the power of words to make their own unique mark on the world today, and whose work inspires us to see things with a new set of eyes. Poetry is alive (and kicking) — need proof? Please, do read on.

Photography: Lottie Bea Spencer


Hailing from South London, James Massiah is a voice to be reckoned with. Primarily a poet, he’s also a musician, a DJ, a producer, a philosopher, a messenger of truth. His honest, many times brutal portrayals of London and all its unforgiving glory, has gained him a legion of admirers and followers, including London’s prominent designer Grace Wales Bonner, who invited him to present an evening of readings at her recent exhibition at the Serpentine.

What else gives James the same adrenaline rush as performing his poetry?

“Partying, romance, discovery, money, cycling - feeling my body in motion when doing those things or experiencing the anxiety or fear that comes with any of those such as being alone with someone new or riding at top speed through traffic knowing you could come off at any moment or feeling your heart racing and about to burst through your chest - it's as if one could say they feel most alive when at the edge of being dead.”


If you haven’t heard about BEA1991 just yet, you probably were going to sooner or later. With her soulful voice and otherworldly presence, the Amsterdam born singer and songwriter has been causing quite a stir in the music industry, attracting the attention of highly respected musicians like Blood Orange, with whom she’s already collaborated with. Her most recent singles, V4 and My Own Heaven, are another two spellbinding tracks that serve as powerful teasers for her long-awaited, soon to be released debut album.

On what inspires her wild imagination:

“Humanity & evolution, mortality, flexibility, (dis)comfort, sci-fi, emotional intelligence, the amygdala, new isms, a paradox, kinds of love.”


Monty Richthofen manifests his thoughts everywhere: “paper, walls, skins.” A Central Saint Martins graduate, Monty is a Berlin-based multi-disciplinary artist, whose creative expression extends to poetry, painting and performance. But you probably know him as Maison Hefner, one of the most sought after tattoo artists around. His trademark? Blind trust.

On the importance of creative mistakes and learning from them:

“Most of the time there is a solution to a problem. When there is none, it’s OK to accept failure. We make mistakes constantly. It’s only human. The biggest mistake is to mistake the mistake for a mistake. You can learn something from any situation, no matter what the outcome is.”

Read the full articles on the Ace & Tate Journal.