Published in Plaid Magazine Online, October 2012
Photo provided by Miracle Thieves
“Miracle Thieves is a colony of joyful rebels,” states their website. What’s the colony rebelling against? “The norm,” says free-spirited founder Tiffany Naval, otherwise known as Tiffany Love (her artist name). “I think it speaks for itself.”
“I’ve never been one to conform,” she goes on to explain. “I’ve never done well with dictatorship. I’ve never done well in an institution. I get along with like-minded people who have the freedom to think outside of what is the norm and I like to celebrate that because I feel like those are the greatest minds that don’t get acknowledged the most. Those are the minds that always find each other and come together.”
And that’s exactly what happens at Miracle Thieves’ gathering place. The space, located at Dundas and Crawford in Toronto and facing Trinity Bellwoods Park, is a creative hub for people to network and utilize the room for all sorts of purposes.
“Ultimately, Miracle Thieves is a blank canvas for artists to come in and facilitate, exhibit, sell, promote themselves, promote their brand, whatever it is that they want.” Celebrating their one year anniversary this past July, Miracle Thieves has hosted open artist studios, workshops (or, “playshops” as they call it), and one-on-one programming for children. The space has been rented for photo shoots, interviews, pop-up shops, lessons, and art shows. There are really no boundaries as to what can be done; from truffle-making to makeup applications, Miracle Thieves welcomes all ideas.
“Everyone that comes here comes because they know they’ll get an experience, and know that there will be a certain sense of communion and fellowship amongst people. We have an open door policy so anybody is welcome to come in. It’s very important for me to introduce myself and welcome people. The scene that comes through here is super open, forward-thinking, like-minded, and creative. We put a lot of integrity into preserving the good energy in the space.”
Currently, Miracle Thieves is housing an interactive project by Toronto-based artist, Erica Brisson, called Local Colour Info Centre, which will be running until November 11th. The project explores Toronto’s pubic spaces and their relationship to the community. Through communicating with people and learning about the places in the city that are personally meaningful and memorable to them, Brisson creates postcards featuring minimalist drawings reflecting those places. She then makes copies of these postcards that people can colour in, or write their own stories on, in the studio. These postcards create a collection of images that connect people’s intimate experiences and emotions to the city in which they live. Images range from simple gas stations and movie theaters to iconic buildings.
In mid-November, Miracle Thieves will host their Holiday Boutique, which will consist of a carefully curated retail consignment by twelve local artists featuring womenswear, menswear, items for infants, jewellery, home décor, leather accessories and journals – a perfect one-stop-shop for unique and local hand-made gifts.
Love is involved in many kinds of craftsmanship, but will not put a label on the work that she does. “It’s really hard for me to answer that question all the time,” she says. But after speaking with her, one realizes it’s because Love is so talented in so many areas and doesn’t want to put a limit on what she is capable of learning. Not only is she a businesswoman, mother, and advocate of promoting self-confidence and beauty in young women, but she has collaborated with artists doing installation, concept-based art, guerilla art (such as leaving letters around the area to engage with strangers), she has taken graphic design courses, and she has an interest in food and fashion design.
But, Love notes a distinction: “I don’t want to be a fashion designer but I want to create things that are fashionable.” Evidently, she doesn’t like to assert a designation onto who she is as an artist. “Absolutely not. Because I always just want to learn more. I almost kind of envy those artists that know exactly what they want to do.”
Above all, Love is an artist who thrives on connection and human engagement, and her creative incubator is a perfect haven for those joyful rebels looking for a place to cultivate their minds and feel encouraged.
“It’s hard to find accessible places and it’s hard to find places that you can go to and feel safe and know that your idea and your concept will be respected. I’m an artist and everyone that I work with are artists and having respect for your art is what every artist needs. We’re here to help the artists too; we offer any advice, contacts, and experience that we have. We want to grow together.”
Miracle Thieves, 249 Crawford Street, Toronto