Karl Joseph Kenda (22 August 1923 - 8 May 1980) was born of Mattaus (b. 1887) and Agnes Majestic (26 April 1883 – 8 August 1973 Miami, FL) Kenda, Austrian immigrants, married circa 1915. Their address at the time was 848 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
Karl’s siblings included Albert A. (12 August 1916 – 15 April 1988 Miami, FL), Edward A. (26 August 1928 – June 1978) and one other (name unknown) who died in infancy before Karl was born.
Karl was admitted to the Catholic College of the Immaculate Conception, Preparatory
Seminary, at Washington and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn on 13 September 1937 and was
Discharged upon his decision – made during Christmas Mass - to leave the seminary on
24 March 1941.
From 1941 to 1943, Karl was a Sexton for St. Malachy’s Church in Brooklyn, his home address listed as 82 New Jersey Avenue, Brooklyn.
He enlisted in the military on 30 March 1943 in NYC "for the duration of the war." His enlistment records state that he was single with dependents, was 66" in height and weighed 120 pounds. He was trained as a Surgical Technician, was based in California for the duration of his service, earned the WWII Victory, American Campaign and Good Conduct Medals, and was separated from the service on 12 April 1946.
Karl moved to Miami, Florida, about 1954 and had been dabbling in his first love, painting, as far back as his military years, although his earliest known surviving works only date back to circa 1963.
During his most original, creative period, from 1967 to 1973, Karl had his own gallery at 285 NE 79th Street in Miami and lived in North Miami Beach, FL. During this middle period, which could be called his Surrealistic, Psychedelic or maybe even Cosmic Period, he created many dozens of paintings on Masonite and canvas using acrylics applied with brush and palette knife.
Many of his middle period, titled paintings - many political in nature - reflected world perils of the times and still resonate with current days events: "Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came," "The War's All Over" and "Lonely Is The Man Without Love" to name a few.
Depending on who is viewing them, his works might be described as psychedelic, spiritual or surrealistic, but all were colorful, unique and thought-provoking.
On 5 May 1974, he married Ann Marie Shaughness in Dade County, Florida.
Although he loathed the idea and resisted it for years, financial concerns forced Karl into mass producing hundreds of “commercial” works from about 1973 to 1978. While not as unique as his more creative works, they are nevertheless beautiful and well executed.
Karl was well known in South Florida back then, but most of his works - both his Surrealistic, as well as Commercial Periods - are now in private hands and have not been viewed by the public for nearly three decades