Why Commissioning Female Artists Is So Important


Demystifying the world of art is one of the most important services an interior designer can provide for their clients. For a homeowner, it can be difficult to know where to begin the journey of outfitting your home with artwork that fits your space and, more importantly, fills you with joy. 

A compelling way to go above and beyond selecting art for a client’s home is to commission pieces directly from artists who the designer knows and admires.

Inspired Interiors Founder and Designer Emily Mackie was granted a unique opportunity to collaborate closely with several female artists during the 2019 SOFA CHICAGO exhibition. In a dynamic display entitled “Still Counting,” Emily brought together personal, powerful works by 21 influential female artists in honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. The relationships forged during this meaningful project made a lasting impression on Emily, and she decided to explore these partnerships further for a particularly rewarding interior design assignment. 

A Celebration of Art and Empowerment

Emily strongly believes in the long-lasting impact of women working together, supporting each other and celebrating life together. As she puts it: “It’s vital to our existence that women support each other by sending each other business, sharing advice and swapping war stories that our mothers or grandmothers might not be able to based on their own experiences.” 

In other words: We owe it to each other, and to ourselves.

For this recent home design project, Emily called upon four of the artists from the SOFA exhibition who she knew would make a great fit for the client’s ebullient aesthetic; her love of color, music and family; and the various spaces of her home she wanted to furnish with pieces she cherished. 

Nancy Pirri is a ceramicist who sculpted familial figures that nestle in a nook in staircase area, providing a welcome moment of reflection.


Nancy Pirri


Bojitt created two vigorous, vibrant paintings for the home, one a soulful piece adorning a spirited place to listen to music, and the other offering a colorful backdrop in a home office (which has become the client’s favorite place to take her Zoom calls, a rather timely consideration).




Sheila Arora presented pieces now displayed in the living room that evoke a serene sense of calm and relaxation. Emily loves Sheila’s work for its high level of intellect and small scale that invites the viewer to get lost in its depths.


Sheila Arora


Shelly Perry crafted bold metal blooms that enliven a gazebo space with vivid green and blue hues. Emily aptly refers to Perry as the “flower child” of the group thanks to her go-with-the-flow, let’s-make-it-work joie de vivre.


Shelly Perry

These talented and creative artists followed explicit instructions and careful parameters but were also granted a healthy dose of freedom. The process turned out to be the ideal way to collaborate and resulted in significant pieces that were perfect for their placements and for the emotions they evoke.  

Relationships That Resonate 

During these projects, Emily and her team learned a lot about commissioning artwork and collaborating with artists. Your interior designer will keep several things top of mind if you’re considering this type of partnership to fill your home with meaningful and highly personalized artwork: 

  • What is the artist’s price range?
  • What is the turnaround time for their work?
  • What conditions does the artist like to work under (i.e. pieces for indoor rooms as opposed to outdoor spaces)?
  • Does the artist prefer to work in certain formats or with specific materials?
  • What are the rights to the work (i.e. not to publicize, crediting the work in a specific way, not to reproduce)?

By taking these types of guidelines into account, your designer, the artists you work with and you are sure to form a beautiful bond.

The Power of Art to Bring Us Together

Emily and the Inspired Interiors team welcome future collaborations and commissions with artists for an array of residential and commercial interior design projects. Connect with us if you’re an artist looking to collaborate or a homeowner hoping to fill your surroundings with artwork that moves you.