Photo Credit: Eileen Flannigan

Photo Credit: Eileen Flannigan

The Artist, Suzanne Unrein

“Of all the contemporary painters I have come across in over 15 years of being a gallerist, I have encountered no one who depicts movement or motion on canvas better than she.  Her work is consistently brilliant and thought-provoking.”  -- Pete Surace, Owner of RARE Gallery, NYC

"… the swiped hauls of broad, scooping paint suggests the entwined hounds, boars and prey reminiscent of Peter Paul Rubens. But this is Rubens with the gloves off."   -- Patricia Mora, Art + Culture Magazine

“Suzanne has the witchy trick of making paint poignant. Subversive, distilled, intimate; she teases variables into solid connections that slowly slip or quickly surge into new connections, but nothing ever spineless, nothing forced. And as her paintings slyly unflatten themselves, symmetries appear that are lyrical, foreboding; contradictions that waken the eye, flatter the mind. From lush to austere, serene to turbulent, her work engages in solving pictorial problems, gracefully, sometimes abruptly, like the logic of a dream.”  --- Hampton Fancher, screenwriter of Blade Runner

An accomplished painter from New York, Suzanne takes inspiration from energy and movement found all around us, from the great Masters of the Baroque art era to the vibrancy of life lived out daily in the animal world. In researching large cats for her next series, Suzanne discovered Kevin Richardson known world-wide as ‘the Lion Whisperer’. The painter instantly recognized not only the quick reactions and spontaneity of the majestic lions at Kevin’s reserve but the deep intuition and in-the-moment connection Kevin cultivates with the lions who have adopted him as part of their pride. These qualities between Kevin and the lions embody much of what Suzanne captures in her work – the subtle and sometimes devastating connections, playing out through life in all its facets.


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The Lion Whisperer,  Kevin Richardson


As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Kevin has disregarded every rule known to humans when working with wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal’s spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated--just like a mother understands a child-- has caused the lions to accept him like one of their own into their pride. 

He uses his unique relationship with these large predators to bring awareness about the alarming numbers of lions disappearing from the planet, headed towards extinction.  He is actively involved in various documentaries by award winning filmmakers, such as Michael Rosenberg, and has been the host of popular television shows such as The Lion Ranger for National Geographic Wild.  He stars in an international film, “African Safari 3D”,released in October 2013.   

He houses his lions on a reserve outside of Pretoria, South Africa called The Kingdom Wildlife Sanctuary.


Twitter:    @lionwhispererSA


The Advisory Board 

Eileen Flannigan brings 15 years experience in digital marketing for technology companies, strategic initiatives and partnerships, which included securing large deals for AT&T.  She has a track record of bringing a wide variety of projects to life and products to market.  However, now she is highly focused on using her skills for various global non-profits in social innovation and entrepreneurship.  For the past year, she has been working with Kiva (micro-finance org) in India and Sub-Saharan Africa and plans to continue to live and work in Africa.   

Bill Stockton brings 18 years experience as a Director on Wall Street at a Tier 1, global investment bank. He is recognized as one of the leading knowledge sharing innovators in the world today.  Bill also created several successful businesses and produced a critically acclaimed motion picture.  Additionally, Bill brings a long history in community service including 10 years tutoring and mentorship of kids at the JCCA Two Together Tutoring program in New York City.

Robert Kushner has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and digital development spanning over 15 years. As a Creative Director he has written and produced campaigns for Fortune 500 companies as well as film, television and publishing brands. He currently works with various non-profit film organizations and serves on the board of NewFest, New York's LGBT film festival.

Carla Alpert is a Graphic Designer and Artist that has enjoyed a career in advertising and marketing for over 25 years. She has created high-impact brand materials for a broad range of clients including Scholastic, NewYork Presbyterian Hospital, NYRSPS and many more.  In 2007 she founded a non-profit called PROUDgirls that engages teenage girls in community service projects that built self-esteem and leadership skills.

Julia Hegeler has had her own retainer executive search firm, JH Hegeler Company, since 1988.  She specializes in financial services with a particular focus on investment research, and has represented Wall Street and regional investment banks and asset management firms. Additionally, she provides career and leadership advisory to senior-level executives.  Julia began her career in public relations at TeleFrance USA after graduating from Smith College.  

Kathryn Williams has spent 25 years in retained executive search, primarily focused on investment banking for premier global financial institutions.  Her background includes strategic marketing, business development, and competitive intelligence.  She is a former journalist and theater/film critic with an MFA from Columbia University, and is a songwriter/composer.