How Kate Feiffer doodled her way into The Vineyard Playhouse Art Space

Kate Feiffer's show will be on display at The Vineyard Playhouse from August 17 through 29.
Photo courtesy of Kate Feiffer

Kate Feiffer's show will be on display at The Vineyard Playhouse from August 17 through 29.

“I’ve always been a compulsive doodler,” says Kate Feiffer. While working on a writing project with MJ Bruder Munafo, the producer and artistic director at The Vineyard Playhouse, Ms. Feiffer’s doodles began accumulating on the floor. Annoyed with the mess but impressed at the quality of the sketches, Ms. Munafo eventually asked Ms. Feiffer, “Why don’t you get these off the floor and put them on the walls?” And that’s how Ms. Feiffer’s show, “From Doodles to Drawings and Back Again,” came to hang in The Vineyard Playhouse Art Space.

The Art Space, which is dedicated in honor of Claudia Miller, an artist and longtime supporter of the Vineyard Haven theater, is in its inaugural season. Ms. Munafo, who operates the gallery alongside Kate Hancock, says when renovations began on the Playhouse’s lobby in 2012, “Our intent was to create bona fide art gallery walls.” The space has included exhibits by four artists this summer, including Gretchen Baer, Tom Smith, and Brooke Adams.

“This is an unusual and fun offer,” says Ms. Feiffer, who has never shown her artwork publicly, with the exception of several art assignments for The M.V. Times. “It doesn’t take much therapy to figure out why maybe I have kept this to myself,” Ms. Feiffer says. Her father is the famous cartoonist Jules Feiffer.

But Ms. Feiffer has developed a style of her own. After the show at the Art Space was offered to her, Ms. Feiffer set out to create a more in-depth portfolio. “I’ve been watching my style change and develop,” she says. “I can almost draw what I want now.” She tends toward drawing “little people.” One of the pieces Ms. Feiffer says she is most excited about showing is a play on the maximum Twitter tweet size of 140 characters. For Ms. Feiffer, this meant drawing 140 of her little people. “They just kind of fall out of my hand,” she says.

“I think that’s the difference between doodling and drawing: Doodles are mostly unconscious,” Ms. Feiffer says. “What I particularly love about doodles, not just mine, but all doodles, is their uncensored honesty.”

Ms. Feiffer’s show, which runs from August 17–29, will be the last of the season’s events in Art Space. “It’s really exciting,” Ms. Feiffer says. “I’m a little nervous because I’ve never done anything like this before, but I think it’s going to be fun.”

Opening Reception for From Doodles to Drawings and Back Again, August 17, 4–8 pm, The Vineyard Playhouse, Vineyard Haven. For more information on this and other events at the Vineyard Playhouse, visit vineyardplayhouse.org or call 508-696-6300.