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Ormond Beach Observer Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 5 years ago

The 'crazy,' 'weird' art of Bill Keningale gets real

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Bill Keningale used to own an advertising firm in England. Now, he's creating pencil sketches and "crazy" artwork in Ormond Beach.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

There's no empty wall space in artist Bill Keningale's Halifax Plantation home.

A retired advertising executive, he now creates 3-dimensional art, of oversized sandals painted to look like the English flag, or dead-eyed sharks chasing schools of miniature fish. And before selling them, he hangs them on his walls, and he lives with him.

Keningale and his wife, Penni, moved to the United States in 2007, after he sold his ad firm, BML Creative, based in Cheltenham, England.

“After eight years we just had enough, really,” he said. “The pressure was just too much. I wanted to ease off a little bit. So we got out of it.”

He said he could’ve sold his business to another company, but that would've required him staying on board for three more years. So instead, he sold to the company’s senior designer and headed to Florida.

Over his life, Keningale’s work has gone from commercials to fine art he says is better suited for galleries than most people's homes.

And recently, his style has seen another major shift.

It happened a few months ago, when instead of giving his neighbors an anniversary card, he took a few photos of them and started sketching.

“I was doing a lot of this big stuff,” he said. “And (the switch to realistic sketches) was really to get a break from that.”

The big stuff, which Keningale also calls “crazy” and “weird,” includes an American flag piece hanging above his mantle, where most people would put a TV.

The flag is made up of crushed Budweiser cans, McDonald’s containers and miniatures cars.

“(If) given a photo reference, I can work fairly quickly,” Keningale said. “And I’m charging about $60 ... signed and dated.”

Keningale debuted his newest line at the Halifax Plantation Art Exhibition and Sale Sunday, Oct. 28, where he received four commissions.

But 3-D art isn’t Keningale's sole artistic outlet. He’s also done a little standup comedy. And writing, he says, may be his best talent, which he's currently putting to use by writing a book.

His writings started in the form of letters to his father, he explained, which he made a habit out of embellishing to comedic effect.

“So it’s kind of a diary," he said, "but kind of an update on what we were doing here (in America)."

And what Keningale is doing now, anyway, is writing. And when he's finished, he hopes to get published. Then it's back to the drawing board, where maybe he'll get weird again.

Contact the artist

Email [email protected] or visit www.bill-keningale.com.

The desk where Keningale does his pencil sketches.

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